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Bruce in Figueroa pursuit

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce has defended the club following Wigan counterpart Roberto Martinez's criticism of their pursuit of defender Maynor Figueroa.

Bruce attempted to take the player to the Stadium of Light from his former club during the summer, and it was no surprise when the Black Cats renewed their interest earlier this month.

But amid claims the Honduran had gone on strike in an attempt to engineer a £7million move, Martinez this week hit out at the "disgusting" speculation.

However, Bruce insisted the Black Cats had done everything by the book.

He said: "We have tried to do things properly and tried to go through the right channels.

"You have never heard me talk about Maynor Figueroa in public until now.

"It's obviously got into the public domain and Roberto has had his say on it, which I respect.

"It's never easy when someone wants your players.

"I know it at Wigan -- this time last year, I lost three of them, so I know exactly what he is talking about."

Within hours of Bruce making his response, Wigan confirmed that 26-year-old Figueroa had signed an improved contract at the DW Stadium.