Sunderland boss Bruce hopes for Villa luck

Steve Bruce

Steve Bruce

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STEVE Bruce hopes his good fortune holds this weekend when another of his “lucky” teams face Sunderland.

The Black Cats notched only their second victory of the season last weekend when they beat Bolton Wanderers – a club Bruce has an enviable record against.

He had won all four of his Sunderland games against the Trotters and last Saturday made it five in a row with a 2-0 triumph at the Reebok.

This Saturday, he hopes that another club he has enjoyed good results against, continues the trend.

“Sometimes as a manager you just seem to have sides where you develop great records and sides where your record is not so great,” Bruce told the Echo.

“Bolton and Villa are two teams that I have seemed to enjoy regular success against as a manager, and I’d love that record to hold up this weekend because back-to-back wins would make such a difference.

“The atmosphere around the training ground this week has been great, simply because we’ve gone away from home, won a tough game and made progress up the table.

“Win two in a row and, all of a sudden, you get a bit of momentum and, in terms of your league position, it can make a really significant difference.”

The manager is correct in that assertion – Sunderland will leapfrog Villa and could go as high as eighth in the league if they win this weekend.

And Bruce hopes past performance will prove to be a good indicator of future success.

He added: “I had a decent record as Birmingham manager. I remember getting Birmingham promoted just under 10 years ago and then doing the double over Villa in our first season back, when Villa were very much the bigger and more established side.

“The next season we drew both games and the season after that we did the double again, so unbeaten in six derbies was not bad going.

“Come to think of it, I wouldn’t have minded saving a bit of my derby luck for the North East!

“You always got your superstitions in football and it’s true I’ve got a good record against Villa, just as I have against Bolton, but I’ve also drawn with Villa and lost to Villa and all that actually matters on the day is how well your team play.

“Aston Villa are a good team, but if we play as well as we did second-half against Bolton last Saturday, then we’ve every chance of beating them and getting up to 10th spot or even better.

“If we do that, we can go into the Manchester United game the following week knowing we’ve made a half-decent start to the season in terms of our points collected from games played, given the teams we’ve played so far – Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, a local derby and two newly-promoted teams away from home who were still on a high.”

H Tickets remain available for Saturday’s game, with prices ranging from £10 (U16s) and £25 (adults).

Seats in the Black Cats Bar are also available, priced £50, which includes a complimentary hot dish of the day, along with a pre-match talk-in with a former SAFC star and a copy of the programme.

Tickets can be purchased from the Stadium of Light ticket office, by telephone on 0871 911 1973 or online via www.safc.com Cash turnstiles will be in operation, though concession tickets must be purchased at the ticket office.