Sunderland boss Bruce confident in O’Shea

John O'Shea looks set to make his Sunderland debut.
John O'Shea looks set to make his Sunderland debut.
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STEVE Bruce says he’ll have no qualms about throwing John O’Shea straight into Saturday’s derby against Newcastle, if the former Manchester United star proves his fitness in time.

The Republic of Ireland international has been sidelined since suffering a hamstring strain in pre-season, but he returned to training yesterday.

And Bruce says that although it will be short notice for the experienced defender, if he’s fit enough, he will come into contention.

He told the Echo: “I would say John’s 50-50 at the moment.

“He’s just come back into full training and we wouldn’t want to push him too far too soon, but I know he’s a naturally fit lad and he could still come into the picture.”

While O’Shea might be a long shot for the game, Bruce admits he’ll be tempted simply because of the character and class of the former Red Devil.

He explained: “When you play at the top for a club like Manchester United for up to a decade, you develop a strong mentality, a winning mentality.

“I think you saw that in Wes Brown at the weekend against Liverpool.

“He showed all the ability you’d expect of a Manchester United player, but there was also that character there, too.

“You need those qualities in a derby, so you can see why I might be consider bringing John in if I think he can comfortably get through the game.”

One centre-half who will not be coming into contention will be big former Hull defender Michael Turner, who has only just returned to training himself.

Bruce said: “Michael’s a different case altogether from John.

“He has been out for a long time with a serious injury sustained to his knee ligaments last season.

“He’s come back this summer, but he’s had a few niggles that have held him back and he had one on the eve of the season.

“He’s over the latest one now and he’s back in training as of yesterday, but it will take longer with him and we have to make sure he comes back right.”