Hat-trick hope for Steve Bruce

EARLY DAYS: Steve Bruce, and his new signing Lee Cattermole, before his first game in charge of Sunderland at Bolton two season ago.
EARLY DAYS: Steve Bruce, and his new signing Lee Cattermole, before his first game in charge of Sunderland at Bolton two season ago.
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STEVE Bruce hopes Bolton continues to be a happy hunting ground for Sunderland as they look to break their duck away from home.

Sunderland are yet to taste victory on the road this season, with their solitary win of the campaign coming in last month’s 4-0 Stadium of Light victory over Stoke City.

But the Black Cats boast an impressive recent record against Bolton, winning five of the last six encounters, including their last two visits to the Reebok Stadium.

Bruce oversaw victory at Bolton in his first game in charge of Sunderland, while last season’s stoppage time 2-1 victory in the North West secured the club’s Premier League status.

Given the respective positions of the two clubs in the lower echelons of the Premier League table, Bruce is desperate to continue that record tomorrow.

Bruce said: “We all understand the game tomorrow is a big game for us and a big one for Bolton too.

“They’ve had an awful run while playing all the top teams, but they went and beat Wigan last weekend. They’ll be thinking here’s an ideal chance, facing Sunderland at home.

“But our record at Bolton is good.

“It was my first game in charge and we won there and then we did well again there last year.

“We’ve got a magnificent following going down there of more than 4,000 supporters.

“It’s been a happy hunting ground for us recently and let’s hope we can get a result. It’s alright talking about performances, but now we need to start getting a few results which will obviously help the confidence of the team.”

Given Sunderland have taken a solitary point from their last three games, Bruce’s men are desperate for a victory to restore some confidence.

But the Sunderland boss admits his side need to string together a sequence of positive results if the self belief is to begin to flow again.

Bruce added: “The hard thing in the Premier League is to win three or four games on the trot. It doesn’t often happen unless you’re one of the big, top teams.

“That’s the nature of the competition we’re in.

“But the only way you can breed a bit of confidence is by winning a game and then getting back-to-back wins.

“I believe we are capable of going to Bolton and getting a result.

“The majority of the performances have been okay, but we haven’t been able to pick up the results that we need.”