Bruce Still Targets Top Ten Finish
Sunderland were always capable of finishing in the top half after such a successful start to the season.
However, like last season, Steve Bruce has endured another mid season slump that has seen his season turn from joy to woe in the space of nine games.
Sunderland face Wigan and Fulham in consecutive home games and Bruce looks at this moment of the season to turn things around to finish strongly.
Bruce said: 'It's unbelievable what's happened to us but it's happened. Eight games ago we were sixth, and we'd been sixth for six months. We've got to live with it and deal with it and get on with it.
'Every team's probably had a bad run at some point and it's our turn. Last year we were on an awful run, we ended up winning a couple of games and got our season back on track. Let's hope we can do that with two home games coming up.
'It feels different because of the position we put ourselves in. I know the reasons for what's happened to us. I've tried to explain the reasons but you can't make that as an excuse.
'I still think if we can win on Saturday then we've got an outstanding chance of finishing in the top 10. It would only be the third time in 55 years if we did it so, for me, we're still on course.'
Bruce added: 'Forty one points could be enough but we're just disappointed that we find ourselves in this situation. We are in it and we have to dust ourselves down and see if we can get out of it as quickly as we got into it.
'It's never easy when you're on a run like this and the injuries we've got but I know we're capable of producing a big performance and let's hope that's on Saturday.'