Bruce backed to handle Wickham with care

MICHAEL Turner today backed Sunderland boss Steve Bruce to handle off-the-mark Connor Wickham with care.

Wickham broke his Premier League duck in last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Aston Villa after the £8million summer signing was handed a first start at the Stadium of Light.

But the 18-year-old’s place is under threat for Saturday’s trip to Manchester United despite impressing in back-to-back appearances in the starting XI.

Bruce will be tempted to revert to a five-man midfield for the clash with his former club, with Wickham’s gentle introduction to the top flight continuing on the bench.

Centre-half Turner said: “I’m sure the manager knows how to deal with a young lad like Connor, coming here with a big fee.

“Everyone’s pleased for Connor to get his first goal after doing really well on his first start at Bolton.

“Hopefully his confidence will keep rising and we can see some great things from him.

“I’m sure scoring will be a big boost for him.

“He’s come off the bench most games at the start of the season and he’s got a bright future for this club.

“He shows bits and pieces in training where you think ‘wow’. But it’s important he plays and shows some consistency. If he keeps scoring goals, he’ll be a big player for the club.”

FULL story in Tuesday’s Mail ...