Sunderland injuries stretch Bruce's defence

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The Independent Football

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has been dealt a double blow by the news that defenders Titus Bramble and Michael Turner will be unavailable until the new year.

Bramble was due to undergo surgery to repair damaged knee cartilage yesterday, and Bruce's worries increased when it emerged that Turner damaged ligaments when he collided with a post during the 2-2 draw with Everton on Monday, and could be sidelined for months.

"It's horrible news," Bruce said. "Michael whacked his knee and damaged ligaments. I believe it could be months rather than weeks, and that's a big blow." Bruce may be forced to field John Mensah at Wolves tomorrow, despite lingering concerns about the Ghanaian's shoulder injury.