Is Steve Bruce part of the problem at Sunderland?

Sunderland were booed off the pitch by fans at the Stadium of Light on Saturday as they slumped to a miserable 3-1 defeat to relegation-threatened Wolves. It was the Mackems’ sixth home defeat out of seven, and part of a wider run of bad form which has seen the North East side win just twice since the end of January. From looking a solid bet for a Europa League place, Sunderland’s freefall took them to within spitting distance of the relegation shake-up. Mid-table gloom is what they seem to have settled for.

The Black Cats’ nosedive can be partially attributed to the sale of top scorer Darren Bent; his abrupt demand for a move in January leaving Steve Bruce with precious little time to find a replacement. Compounding that loss has been a huge injury list, robbing Bruce at various, lengthy intervals of first teamers including Titus Bramble, Michael Turner, Kieran Richardson, Lee Cattermole, Danny Welbeck and most recently £13m Asamoah Gyan.

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However, Bruce himself has become an increasingly divisive figure on Wearside, with a growing number of supporters beginning to point the finger at him for the team’s problems. Bruce has both spent and brought in a lot of money, yet this wheeler-dealing has met with mixed success. While Gyan has largely justified his hefty price tag, and January signing St

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