Sunderland are the devils in disguise

FULL OF PRAISE ... Sunderland defender Phil Bardsley.
FULL OF PRAISE ... Sunderland defender Phil Bardsley.
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PHIL Bardsley is confident Wes Brown and John O’Shea will hit the right note for Sunderland after adding to the ex-Manchester United contingent on Wearside.

Sunderland now boast five former Red Devils in their ranks, with defenders Brown and O’Shea renewing acquaintances with Bardsley, Kieran Richardson and Fraizer Campbell.

Brown and O’Shea (left) are by far the most decorated of the quintet after winning a total of 10 Premier League titles between them, along with the Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup.

While their stints on Wearside are unlikely to produce as many accolades, Bardsley insists the duo will be motivated by a fresh challenge at Sunderland after more than a decade at United.

And Bardsley revealed his former team-mates will be swiftly brought into the fold by the initiation ritual awaiting them on Sunderland’s pre-season tour, with the Black Cats flying out to Germany today.

Bardsley told the Echo: “All the new lads have to sing a song for their first away trip.

“That will be interesting asking two lads who’ve won 10 Premier League trophies to sing!

“But it gets them blended in and it’s good for team spirit.

“They’re both top professionals off the pitch so it shouldn’t be a problem bonding with them.”

The 26-year-old (right) added: “Obviously being at Man United is the pinnacle of anyone’s career. But the lads have come here to play week-in, week-out.

“They want regular football and a fresh start maybe.

“It’s good for them and good for the teams they go to. We’re going to benefit from two top players.

“It’s nice to see some familiar faces from years gone by.

“They’re good lads as well, 100 per centers and great to have around the dressing room.”

Sunderland play the first of three friendlies in Germany against Third Division outfit Arminia Bielefeld on Sunday.

Steve Bruce’s men head into the encounter on the back of a 2-1 victory in Wednesday’s opening pre-season game at York.

Bardsley grabbed the opener against the Minstermen, yet it was the return of long-term injury victims Michael Turner, Titus Bramble and Lee Cattermole which provided more encouragement to the left-back.

“It was nice to get on the scoresheet again and hopefully I can keep doing that throughout the season,” said the reigning Sunderland Player of the Year. It was important we went to York and gave a good account of ourselves.

“It was a good exercise, particularly for the lads who’ve not played in a few months with injury. It was nice for them to come back and get a run-out.

“Obviously, people like Titus, Michael Turner and Catts struggled with injury towards the back end of last season.

“It was their first game in a few months and they came through it well. Hopefully they can get a few more games in pre-season.”