Defender still a part of gaffer's plans...
The former West Ham United centre-back's future on Wearside appeared to have been extinguished following a reported bust-up with the gaffer, with links to several Serie A clubs cropping up before the transfer window came to a close.
The 25-year-old remained at the Stadium of Light, and recently made an appearance in the 1-0 victory over Manchester City.
Now Bruce maintains that he harbours no ill feeling towards the defender, insisting that he remains a part of the club's plans for this season.
"He's back in the frame," Bruce told the Northern Echo.
"Sometimes you have a row at work, it happens. But the one thing I'll never do is bear a grudge.
"We pay his wages, he came back into the team and played very well so he'll be in contention for Wigan [on Saturday].
"He's still got a future here because he's our player. He's not gone anywhere and if and when he's required, he'll play."