Steve Bruce has criticised the Premier league schedule as being ridiculous. Nedum Onuoha, Danny Welbeck and Asamoah Gyan were all injured in the Black Cats’ 2-0 home defeat by Blackpool.

Bruce says it is “nonsense” that his players should face five games in eight days and he now wants a winter break.

“Every country in Europe does it,” he said. “We should be taking a break too, there should be a break here.”

Bruce’s sentiments were echoed on Tuesday by West Ham manager Avram Grant following his side’s 1-1 draw against Everton.

Sunderland have been linked with bids for Shaun Wright-Phillips and Adam Johnson in the January transfer window.