Sunderland 1 Bolton 0: Bruce relying on Ferguson showing generous spirit over Welbeck switch

STEVE Bruce is hoping Manchester United counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson will hand him a birthday present by allowing Danny Welbeck to complete a permanent move to Sunderland.

The two men, who go head-to-head at Old Trafford on Boxing Day, share the same birthday, New Year's Eve, and the Black Cats boss is keeping his fingers crossed that Ferguson may grant him his wish after seeing loan signing Welbeck fire his side into the Barclays Premier League's top six after this win over Bolton.

Bruce, who admitted the 20-year-old's form was making it more difficult for him to clinch a deal, said: "I always knew that was going to be a problem anyway, deep down, but you never know.

"Fergie has got a birthday coming up shortly and he might get generous in his old age. I somehow doubt it.

"He's a fantastic talent, isn't he? You can see that and he has benefited from playing regularly. He has got an infectious enthusiasm about him. He wants to play and train and he has been terrific. Manchester United have got a very good player on their hands."

Welbeck's 32nd-minute strike was enough to claim the points on an afternoon when Sunderland kept their 10th clean sheet of the season and their ninth in the league, despite central defender John Mensah joining Titus Bramble and Michael Turner on the sidelines with an ankle injury which is likely to rule him out for up to three weeks.

Darren Bent controlled a deep cross beyond the far post and saw his shot parried by Jaaskelainen, but the Finn could only direct the ball across goal where Welbeck stooped to head it home.

Bolton came agonisingly close to an equaliser when Gary Cahill headed Matt Taylor's corner back across goal and Zat Knight's shot seemed destined for the back of the net until Craig Gordon somehow got it up and over his crossbar.