Sunday 25 February 2018

Campbell's stock soars as Black Cats fluff lines

Sunderland 0
Blackpool 2

Jason Mellor

AS a manager who jealously guards his transfer funds as if they were his own, Steve Bruce needs little reminding that money can't buy you everything.

At least that's the only conclusion that could be drawn as his £25m Sunderland strikeforce somehow managed to draw a blank, allowing a forward he knows well, and whose value is a pittance in comparison, to show his expensively assembled flops just how it should be done. Having taken DJ Campbell to Birmingham City four years ago, Bruce was aware of the threat posed by Blackpool's record signing who, at a modest £1.25m, is worth less than a 10th of Asamoah Gyan. You wouldn't have known yesterday.

The shockingly out-of-touch Sunderland forward was put out of his misery as he was hauled off midway through the second half after spurning at least three good chances to put the hosts out of sight, before Campbell stole in at the near post to volley home Ian Evatt's flick from Neil Eardley's cross. In fairness to Darren Bent, who matched his forward partner for profligacy, there was little wrong with a stunning late 25-yard free-kick which bounced down off the underside of the bar with Richard Kingson (left), another to have played under Bruce, beaten.

The 'keeper deserved a slice of luck after he had stood firm to block efforts from Steed Malbranque, Lee Cattermole and Bent.

"I think he was playing with some of those big Kenny Everett hands," manager Ian Holloway observed.

Campbell sealed Blackpool's first win on Wearside for 52 years in the last minute, profiting from a searing run by the substitute Matt Phillips to slide in his fifth goal of the season to cap what has been something of an annus mirabilis for their effervescent manager, whose side rose to eighth courtesy of a fifth away win of an increasingly remarkable season.

"I don't want this year to end," he admitted. "Unfortunately in a couple of days it does. It's been an absolute belter and we've got a bit of a thing going, so if we can carry it on in 2011 I'll be more than happy." (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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