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Bruce to learn his fate within 48 hours

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    Mar 11, 2006
    <div class="track"><img alt="" src="" width="1" height="1" /></div><p class="standfirst">• Steve Bruce to meet Sunderland owner Ellis Short<br />• Niall Quinn's influence could save manager from axe</p><p>Steve Bruce was still clinging to his job as the Sunderland manager on Monday night as he prepared for talks with Ellis Short, the club's owner, scheduled to take place within the next 48 hours.</p><p>With suggestions that Short had already told Bruce that he had two games – at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday and at home to Blackburn Rovers the following weekend – to salvage his career on Wearside dismissed as erroneous by club sources, his immediate future is unclear.</p><p>It is virtually certain that Bruce, who signed a new contract in February, will not offer his resignation. Instead the man subjected to chants of "Bruce out" during Sunderland's 2-1 home defeat to Wigan Athletic on Saturday is expected to ask for more time to turn things round.</p><p>Short, who doubles as the chairman, has discussed the manager's position with both his chief executive, Margaret Byrne, and his fellow director Niall Quinn as senior figures at the club take stock and debate whether to keep Bruce in charge for the trip to Wolves.</p><p>It would be expensive to pay off Bruce and although Short's inclination, before Saturday at least, had been to resist any panic measures and offer the 50-year-old a fair chance to confound the doubters, many Sunderland fans are demanding immediate change. Short, a billionaire American financier, is famously reclusive but one Sunderland supporter approached the owner as he departed the stadium on Saturday and said: "Ellis we're not happy." Barely breaking stride, Short replied: "And do you think I am?"</p><p>After winning two home games since New Year's Day and taking 11 points from 13 Premier League matches this season, such gloom is understandable. "Let's be honest we're just not good enough in the final third," said Sebastian Larsson, Bruce's Sweden midfielder. "No disrespect to Wigan but we should be winning those type of games. We've got to take a long hard look at ourselves and see why things are going the way they are." Even so Larsson, lent his support to Bruce. "I'm not surprised by how the fans reacted on Saturday. But the manager is the right man for the job."</p><p>While Short doubtless weighs up the respective merits of, among other available managers, Mark Hughes – who is said to have his admirers within the Stadium of Light – Martin O'Neill and the locally domiciled Steve McClaren, Bruce retains a long-standing ally in Quinn.</p><p>Exactly how persuasive the Irishman, who recently stepped down as the chairman in order to concentrate on a new international development role, proves in the discussions of Bruce's fate remains to be seen.</p><p>The manager privately claims that results would have been far better had Short offered him the funds to buy Charles N'Zogbia from Wigan last summer. Instead N'Zogbia, a left-winger, ended up at Aston Villa and Bruce – who has made 30 signings since becoming Sunderland manager in May&nbsp;2009, several of whom have since departed – reinvested the money from selling Jordan Henderson to Liverpool on 10 new recruits.</p><p>So far this reshaped team have failed to gel and, as a man reputed to be keen on obtaining value for money, Short may be particularly curious to discuss why Craig Gardner, a £6m midfield buy from Birmingham City, has barely featured in the first XI.</p><div class="related" style="float: left; margin-right: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px;"><ul><li><a href="">Steve Bruce</a></li><li><a href="">Sunderland</a></li></ul></div><div class="author"><a href="">Louise Taylor</a></div><br/><div class="terms"><a href=""></a> &copy; 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our <a href=",,933909,00.html">Terms & Conditions</a> | <a href="">More Feeds</a></div><p style="clear:both" />
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