Blaming Bruce is madness, Cattermole tells Wigan

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The Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole has laughed off Dave Whelan's claim that Steve Bruce left Wigan Athletic with some "dodgy signings".

Wigan chairman Whelan suggested in the wake of his club's 9-1 drubbing at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday that new manager Roberto Martinez took over a squad which contained some players not up to scratch and laid the blame squarely at Bruce's door.

He said: "Steve actually had a few dodgy signings just before he left Wigan and he [Martinez] has inherited those dodgy signings, so I can't blame Roberto one iota."

But Cattermole, who followed Bruce to Wearside this summer after signing for him at Wigan 12 months earlier, is puzzled at Whelan's comments which add spice to the Black Cats' visit to the DW Stadium on Saturday for their Premier League match.

He said: "I like Dave Whelan. I think he's a good chairman – a footballing chairman. But I don't understand where he is coming from with this.

"When you look at the guys Steve bought for Wigan, you just can't argue with his record – Wilson Palacios, Antonio Valencia – they were sold for big, big money." Palacios moved to Tottenham for £12m while Valencia joined Manchester United for £17m which constitute pretty impressive earnings.

"Not everyone's going to be a big hit but I can't understand Dave Whelan attacking the gaffer. I think he is just trying to take the heat off the new manager. You look at the signings the gaffer made at Wigan and, to be honest, I thought they were all good."

Cattermole is currently sidelined with a knee injury and he could be joined on the treatment table by top scorer Darren Bent.

Bent pulled up clutching his hamstring late in Saturday's 1-0 win over Arsenal at the Stadium of Light – a match in which he scored the winner – and underwent a scan yesterday.

The England frontman, who has scored nine goals in an impressive start to his career on Wearside, is a doubt for this weekend's clash and Bruce is hoping he is not set for a longer spell on the sidelines.

Bruce said: "Darren's had a scan and we're waiting for the results. If it is his hamstring, we could be looking at about three weeks out. We won't know anything more until the results come back so we will have to keep our fingers crossed."

Bent's absence would leave Bruce with a selection headache as Kenwyne Jones is suspended after being sent off against West Ham United last month. He was involved in an altercation with Herita Ilunga and received his marching orders after pushing the defender to the floor. Fraizer Campbell, who stood in for Jones at the weekend in the win over Arsenal, should be available.