Bruce admits deals may have given Black Cats too many lives

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The Independent Online

Steve Bruce admitted yesterday he has probably been too active in the transfer market again this summer as he attempts to take Sunderland to the next level.

Bruce has drafted in eight players to date – Titus Bramble, Cristian Riveros, Simon Mignolet and Marcos Angeleri, as well as loan signings Ahmed Elmohamady, John Mensah, Danny Welbeck and Nedum Onouha – and is still in the market for two more, while around 25 players have headed through the exit door since his arrival on Wearside.

However, after a disappointing start to the new Premier League campaign, in which the Black Cats have taken just a single point from games with Birmingham and promoted West Bromwich, the manager has admitted it will take time for his new signings to bed in.

"We have done a lot – probably too much again," Bruce said, "and when you do make a lot of changes, like Saturday for example, people like Simon Mignolet and Cristian Riveros and Ahmed Elmohamady, the one thing they all need is time. We have sort of thrown them in at the deep end because of necessity, and that's maybe a bit unfair on them.

"Every time when you go away and bring a player in from abroad, you must do one thing, give them time. Wilson Palacios, for example, was six months, Maynor Figueroa was 12 months before I put him in.

"You have got to give them time to adjust. I noticed on Saturday Cristian Riveros scratching his head and thinking, 'Wow, I have never been kicked around like that before' – and that's by West Brom, who, no disrespect, are one of the less physical teams in the division. But he will learn from it and, given time, he will adjust."

Bruce has yet to replace the striker Kenwyne Jones following his £8m switch to Stoke, and, while the club are actively pursuing targets, insists nothing is close to completion. "I would love to bring in a couple of players," Bruce said. "We have got a couple of irons in the fire. We hope we can pull them off."

Sunderland will hope to register their first win of the campaign when they entertain League One Colchester in the Carling Cup second round tonight. Michael Turner and Lee Cattermole are available after suspension, while Andy Reid and Anton Ferdinand could return from injury.

They would do so with their manager still reflecting on a 1-0 defeat at West Bromwich which highlighted once again the club's dismal run of results on the road. Bruce said: "I am looking at our club here, a big club like it is, and we have won 10 times away from home in the last six years. But we are not alone. I saw Fulham's stats yesterday, Blackburn's stats away from home – it is difficult and that's the division we are in."

Bruce is hoping a win tonight will belatedly kick-start a season during which the Carling Cup will be a priority. "I have always said since I came here, it is going to be very difficult for us to win the Premier League, but the one thing we are capable of is winning a cup, because you only have to win five or six games – as long as they are not away from home!"

At Stoke, who host Shrewsbury in the Carling Cup tonight, injuries to the strikers Kenwyne Jones and Mamady Sidibe have strengthened the manager Tony Pulis's conviction that he has to bring in reinforcements.

Jones, an £8m signing from Sunderland, has not played since injuring his ankle on the opening day of the Premier League season while Sidibe is out for the season after snapping an Achilles tendon in Saturday's defeat to Tottenham. He underwent an operation yesterday.

Having brought in Jones and Ipswich's Jon Walters – with James Beattie having left for Rangers and Dave Kitson out of favour – Pulis wants more back-up, even though he also has Ricardo Fuller and Tuncay Sanli.

Pulis has dismissed reports linking him with Tottenham's Peter Crouch, insisting the England international is out of Stoke's price range, but admits he is looking for more additions before the transfer window closes.

"No, we wouldn't be able to afford Peter Crouch," Pulis said. "But the fact we have lost Kenwyne and Mama in our first two matches shows how lightweight we are in certain areas of the squad. So we will be looking to address that situation before the deadline and, as I have stated before, it is important we bring more goals to the team.

"We were looking at four [signings] before Mama got injured, but there will be players leaving as well and we are hoping the next few days will be busy for everyone connected with the club."

There have been suggestions that Tuncay may be one to leave the Britannia Stadium, as he has struggled to hold down a regular place since his move from Middlesbrough.

Pulis refused to confirm whether that would be the case, but he did not rule it out. "Again, there has been loads of speculation about loads of players leaving and for people to be moving on to do deals you have to have happy parties, have two clubs agree on a deal and the player has to be happy to move," he told Sky Sports News. "There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes and whether Tunny is one of them we will have to wait and see."

The Stoke chief executive, Tony Scholes, confirmed Pulis's intention to bolster the squad before the end of the month. "There is likely to be more activity on that front before the window shuts as we look to improve the first-team squad," he said.

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