Quinn calls for patience

Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn has appealed for patience as manager Steve Bruce attempts to the club’s season around.

Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn has appealed for patience as manager Steve Bruce attempts to the club’s season around.

The Black cats extended their run without a Barclays Premier League win to 11 games today when they were forced to come from behind to secure a 1-1 draw in front of owner Ellis Short.

Coming as it did after Monday night’s 0-0 stalemate against Stoke, the result left many fans unhappy.

However, writing in his programme notes for the game, Quinn urged the supporters to get behind the team once again.

He said: “We all hoped at the start of the season that we could have a comfortable year – well, the reality is that we can’t, so we have to knuckle down and drive forward.

“People can give out about it and that’s fine. If any Sunderland fans think they are doing themselves or the club a favour by putting more pressure on the situation, that’s for them to decide.

“But having been there and done it, I know that the best thing is when everybody gets behind the team because that helps the players to get their confidence back and turn the corner.

“Let’s do that together and get ourselves up the league again.”

Bruce was in defiant mood after seeing his side extend their winless Barclays Premier League run to 11 games.

However, Bruce was refusing to be downbeat.

He said: “The one thing I am not going to do is give up on it – I have never given up on anything in my life, so I am not going to start now.

“We have got to make sure we are ready for the challenge ahead. We won’t give up on it, that’s for sure and we will turn it around.”

Sunderland were desperately poor before the break, when only a Jones effort which clipped Maynor Figueroa and then the outside of the post and a Lee Cattermole drive which was turned over by Chris Kirkland threatened to lift the gloom.

Wigan central defenders Titus Bramble and Gary Caldwell never had to break sweat to keep the Trinidad and Tobago international and Darren Bent at bay, and few inside the Stadium of Light could have complained at the lead given to the visitors by Mohamed Diame’s superb 20th-minute strike.

It might have been all over had Craig Gordon not blocked James McCarthy’s 58th-minute effort with his legs, and there was a sigh of relief on Wearside when Jones powered home Jordan Henderson’s cross.

Bent might have won it during seven minutes of stoppage time at the end of the game, but his effort came back off his strike-partner in front of goal as the visitors survived a late onslaught.

Sunderland head for crisis club Portsmouth on Tuesday night with Bruce insisting he is not too concerned by the mounting pressure on his shoulders.

He said: “I am not enjoying it. I’m not unduly worried, but I am not enjoying it, that’s for sure.

“After a really fantastic start, we have had a horrible run, it’s as simple as that, but we have to try to arrest it, starting on Tuesday.”

However, Bruce will leave Henderson behind on Wearside with the youngster potentially facing months on the sidelines with ankle ligament damage after being stretchered off.

The manager said: “That’s the most disappointing thing of the afternoon. It doesn’t look great for the kid.

“We will see how the scans and X-rays are over the next 24 hours, but it will certainly be weeks and possibly months.”

Latics boss Roberto Martinez was happy with a point, but disappointed that neither McCarthy nor Charles N’Zogbia could take advantage of opportunities to win the game.

He said: “The hardest thing is coming away from home and scoring that first goal and once we did that, we coped really well in the first half with Sunderland’s threat.

“We expected them to be direct and put us under pressure in the last third, but the disappointment is that we needed to score that second goal.

“If you score that second goal, the whole games changes and everything is a little bit easier for you.

“We are getting punished for very, very little and it seems we need a lot to take our chances.

“But overall, I am very pleased with the performance in terms of the defensive attributes we had to show, the togetherness, the responsibility.”

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