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Premier League

Sunderland to take time over Darren Bent replacement

Steve Bruce has warned Sunderland's fans he will not target a £20million replacement for Darren Bent over the next 10 days.

The Black Cats manager's January transfer plans were thrown into disarray on Tuesday when Bent sealed a shock £24million switch to Aston Villa.

From looking for a midfielder to strengthen his options in that department, he has now had to shift his attention to providing back-up to record signing Asamoah Gyan, his only fit striker after Danny Welbeck this week underwent knee surgery which will sideline him for up to eight weeks.

Bruce has a series of targets to plug the gap left by Bent in the short term - Stoke's Ricardo Fuller and Paris St Germain's attacking midfielder Stephane Sessegnon are among them - but he is likely to leave his main spending until the summer.

He said: "I have to tell all the Sunderland fans if they think I am going to go out for a marquee signing and spend £20million, it's not going to happen.

"We have got to look and make sure we are patient and hope. I will try to bring in a couple of bodies that will help us in the short term, and look to go again in the summer.

"We are looking, we are looking, but it is like puppies at Christmas - you don't just go and buy one for the sake of it because they do need nurturing and looking after after a while.

"We will make sure we try to do our homework. We have got a couple of irons in the fire and we will bring the right people to the club."

Sunderland are perceived to have cash, even though as with most transfer deals these days, Villa's payments for Bent will be staggered.

Bruce insists he will not be held to ransom.

He said: "Of course, people will try to take my pants down and try to give me a smacking, but we will be okay with that.

"I am sure people will try it on, but I'm a bit long in the tooth for that."

Bruce has not given up hope of adding reinforcements before tomorrow's Barclays Premier League trip to Blackpool with Fuller a genuine target.

He said: "To be fair, we are putting the net far and we know there are certain individuals who could be available.

"Ricardo Fuller could be one of those, but we have got the irons in the fire, four or five as we speak.

"I like Ricardo Fuller, I think he has been a very good player in the Premier League, and we will see.

"Just watch this space for the next 24, 48 hours."

On Sessegnon, Bruce added: "That is a possibility as we speak - but it has been a possibility for two weeks, so we are hoping.

"We are trying now to exhaust every avenue and see what is available at this particular time."