Sunderland vs Aston Villa preview - Bruce predicts a rough ride for returning Bent

I have a say

Posted Saturday, October 29, 2011 by PA

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce expects Darren Bent to face a hot reception from the home fans when he makes his first return to the Stadium of Light with Aston Villa.

The striker was involved in an acrimonious £18million move between the clubs in January after submitting a transfer request that shocked Bruce and the supporters.

"It's football so I think he'll be expecting it," said Bruce, who was also keen to highlight what Bent achieved in his 18 months at Sunderland, scoring 36 goals in 63 appearances.

"I think we have to acknowledge what Darren Bent did here, too. He was terrific here for 18 months, there's no disputing that, and, in my opinion, could have been one of the greats if he'd stuck around. He didn't, it's football, and sometimes it happens.

"All our disappointment was that it ended so quickly. But the great thing about football is we move on."

With no fresh injury worries this week, Bruce could name the same side that defeated Bolton.

Defender Titus Bramble remains suspended pending the outcome of police and club investigations, while Craig Gordon and Fraizer Campbell (both knee) continue to work their way back to fitness.

Villa boss Alex McLeish is looking for a positive response from his side after successive defeats against Manchester City and West Brom ended their unbeaten start in the league.

He said: "Sunderland will be confident. They had a great result last weekend (at Bolton). But equally you can look at Sunderland getting that result on the back of a couple of bad ones.

"There is no reason why we can't do the same thing. We've had a couple of reversals now.

"We were very frustrated at the way last week's result at West Brom unfolded.

"But it doesn't mean we can't go to Sunderland and get the points just as Sunderland did at Bolton last weekend with a terrific performance.

"They will be buoyed by their performance and victory but equally they will be aware that we have a big threat in our team as well."

On-loan Tottenham midfielder Jenas Jenas is finally fit and included in the squad while defender Alan Hutton has recovered from a head wound which required seven stitches.

But midfielder Barry Bannan is suspended while the club conduct an internal investigation after the Scot was arrested on suspicion of drink driving last weekend.



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