Steve Bruce to return to Sunderland

HULL OF A JOB: Ex-Sunderland manager Steve Bruce
HULL OF A JOB: Ex-Sunderland manager Steve Bruce

STEVE Bruce is expected to return to Sunderland for recruits as he looks to assemble his backroom staff at Hull City.

And that is likely to see the departures of Reserve team coach Keith Bertschin and Reserve team assistant and trainer Stephen Clemence.

Bruce will also try to link up again with former goalkeeping coach Nigel Spink, who has been at Bristol City since Bruce’s departure from the Stadium of Light last December.

But his former assistant at Sunderland, Eric Black, currently Steve Keane’s number two at Blackburn Rovers, is not expected to rejoin his former boss, Black seeing his immediate future at Ewood Park.

Should, as expected, Bertschin and Clemence quite Sunderland for the Championship club, Martin O’Neill will need a reshuffle of his coaching team in the summer.

But the Black Cats’ boss is likely to see that as an opportunity rather than a setback.

O’Neill has been able to bring in some of his choice of staff since taking over the reins from Bruce – most notably first-team coach Steve Walford and goalkeeping coach Seamus McDonagh.

But the chance to bring in more staff, who he himself would like to appoint, will only be seen as a chance to implement further changes the Irishman will feel should benefit Sunderland in the future.

SEE Wednesday’s Hartlepool Mail for full story