Jones and Richardson to give Bruce a welcome lift

The Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has been handed a welcome boost ahead of Saturday's Premier League match against Bolton.

The Black Cats entertain Wanderers at the Stadium of Light having slipped into the bottom half of the table as a result of Stoke City's 3-2 win over Fulham on Tuesday night and a run of 11 league games which has brought just seven points.

Bruce's men have won just once during that sequence of fixtures – against high-flying Arsenal – and have been hampered in recent weeks by injuries and suspensions.

Central defender Michael Turner will complete his four-match ban at the weekend – Bruce was himself charged with improper conduct by the Football Association on Tuesday over his comments regarding the player's dismissal at Manchester City on 19 December – while the likes of Craig Gordon, John Mensah, Lee Cattermole, Andy Reid and Nyron Nosworthy are still out injured.

However, Kenwyne Jones, Kieran Richardson and Bolo Zenden could all return against Bolton, while Anton Ferdinand has an outside chance of being available.

Bruce said: "We could possibly have people back, there are a few close. Kenwyne, Kieran and Bolo are all training and Craig Gordon's stepping up his recovery. It's too soon for Craig, but we could have four or five in and around the squad at the weekend."

Jones has missed the last two games with a calf problem, while Richardson has been sidelined for the last three by a similar injury. Zenden has struggled with hamstring strains since his arrival on Wearside, and was left out of Saturday's 3-0 FA Cup third-round win over non-league Barrow as a precaution.

Gordon broke his arm in a collision with the Tottenham Hotspur striker Jermain Defoe during a 2-0 defeat at White Hart Lane at the beginning of November. However, he has been given the go-ahead to step up his recovery and is hoping for a run-out with the reserves next week, weather permitting.

Ferdinand had been out for more than a month after damaging ankle ligaments in the 1-0 defeat to Fulham at Craven Cottage on 6 December.

Midfielder Cattermole has been forced to sit out the last three games since returning from a knee injury with a hamstring problem and, while he is close again, he will not be risked unless he is ready.

Bruce said: "I would say he's 50-50 for the game, but he could be in contention for the Chelsea match [on 16 January]."

Meanwhile, the ongoing cold snap has forced Bruce and his players indoors with the training pitches at the Academy of Light frozen.

The manager said: "It's a frustration because, as a professional, you prepare properly for every game. We have struggled for two and a half weeks now. We went on the beach 10 days ago and after that, a lot of players were complaining of stiffness, soreness and calf strains, so we knocked that on the head. It's particularly frustrating and it's certainly not easy. I can't remember experiencing such a long period of snow and ice."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before