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Enforced defensive changes threaten to leave Black Cats in limbo

| 25.11.2010

Sunderland will be hoping that a defensive reshuffle does not bring to an end their recent resurgence in form as they head to Wolves in their next Premier League outing.

The Black Cats are unbeaten in their last four fixtures, which has included just a second victory in 25 away games when defeating Premier League champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

However, they will have to heap further pressure on Wolves without first-choice central defensive pairing Michael Turner and Titus Bramble.

Bramble is undergoing surgery to cure a knee cartilage problem, while Turner damaged ligaments in his knee when colliding with a post during Sunderland’s draw with Everton in their last game.

Both will be sidelined until next year and with John Mensah also troubled by a shoulder problem, Bruce faces a decision with which pairing to go for against Wolves.

Sunderland’s betting odds are 13/8 to beat Wolves and he will likely choose Anton Ferdinand and Paulo da Silva as this will mean making as few changes as possible to avoid interrupting the continuity of the defence.

The other option would be to move Nedum Onouha over from right-back, but this would then mean that Phil Bardsley would switch flanks and Kieran Richardson would come in at left-back.

Bruce said of the situation: “In Michael and Titus, we have lost a big partnership who have done very, very well for us.”

With Wolves losing their last four Premier League games to sit joint bottom of the table, Bruce will be confident of securing victory and ensuring that his team maintain their record of losing just two league games this season.

However, they have only scored one goal in each of their last five visits to Wolves, with three of these games finishing 1-1.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.