No truth in Steve Bruce sack rumour

STAYING PUT ... Sunderland boss Steve Bruce.
STAYING PUT ... Sunderland boss Steve Bruce.
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CLAIMS that Sunderland are poised to sack Steve Bruce are rubbish.

And the suggestion that Martin O’Neill has been lined up to take the Geordie’s place has also been dismissed by senior sources at the club.

Several Sunday newspapers reported that Bruce’s job at the Stadium of Light is hanging by a thread and one even went so far as to claim that he will be the first Premier League manager sacked this season.

It listed the setbacks Sunderland have encountered this year and claimed that the changes at boardroom level with Niall Quinn stepping down as chairman and owner Ellis Short taking over were likely to signal the end for Bruce.

But the claims are rubbish and the club is fuming after another weekend of potentially destabilising Sunday newspaper claims.

Last weekend several Sundays were claiming Niall Quinn was on the shopping list of Manchester City as a replacement for shamed chief executive Garry Cook but both Quinn and Man City could have been more strenuous in their denials that there was any substance in the story whatsoever.

Similarly, the claims that Bruce is about to be sacked are equally unwelcome.

Bruce has a good working relationship with Short and the owner has been impressed with the job done by the Tynesider in his first two seasons with the playing staff completely revamped and the manager asked to work within a clearly defined budget.

Both Short and Quinn want to preside over an era of stability at Sunderland and Bruce remains very much part of that vision.

The leadership of the club are desperate for Bruce to feel secure in his role, rather than looking over his shoulder.

They fear that if the manager fears for his job it will make tougher for him to do it successfully and both Short and Quinn have been at pains privately to reassure the manager that they have every faith in him long term.

Even a very basic assessment of the situation – beyond Quinn’s words of backing last week – bears out the fact that the manager remains central to the club’s vision for the future.

Bruce is currently out in South Korea with Quinn where work is being done to attract new sponsors and partners to the club to help boost Sunderland’s finance.

And the former Wigan and Blues boss would not be part of the club’s charm offensive if he was set to be sacked over the next few days.

Quinn said last week it would take something ‘apocalyptic’ to force Bruce’s removal and he meant what he said.

Sunderland have two difficult away trips coming up against Arsenal and Bolton followed by a home game against Aston Villa at the end of the month and even a bad run in those fixtures will not force the club to review Bruce’s position.