KIERAN RICHARDSON is likely to be moved back in to midfield for this afternoon's visit of Fulham - despite "not giving Nani a kick" in his last outing for Sunderland as a left-back.

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce has been insistent since last season that he thinks the 27-year-old's best position is as a full-back and has been satisfied with the progress he has made in that role.

But with Seb Larsson sidelined through suspension this afternoon and striker options limited, Bruce has spent the international break assessing his options and playing Richardson further forward is featuring prominently in his thoughts.

It is not a decision he will make lightly, but with John O'Shea fit again after a hamstring problem then Phil Bardsley can switch flanks and slot in to the left-sided defensive role.

"There's a possibility," said Bruce. "You can see Kieran at left-back, he played against Nani at Old Trafford and never gave him a kick, he played against Theo Walcott two weeks before that at Arsenal and never gave him a kick.

"The big thing with Kieran is what is his best position? I was only sitting with Sir Alex Ferguson a couple of weeks ago and asked him what he thought his best position was.

"I've also had many conversations about it with Bryan Robson, who had him at West Brom. The good thing with Kieran is that he can play a lot of positions very well and I know wherever we play him he can fit in."

The one-match suspension Larsson must serve for picking up five bookings has disrupted a team that showed plenty of promise in the build up to the international break.

But Bruce, who is also without striker Connor Wickham for the next few weeks at least with a knee injury, is showing no signs of frustration. Instead he is hopeful that those who do come in can continue in a positive frame of mind.

And he has set his sights on a target of 28 points from now until early January. He said: "We've got three or four where you look on paper and think it's a certainty we should win but it's never as easy as that and we must guard against that.

"We've got to look at the next ten or 11 games and we have a run of seven or eight in a period of four or five weeks over Christmas.

"When you've come through all of those games we'll know more but certainly with the next three or four we couldn't have asked for a better run of fixtures and we've got to try to pick up the points."

After today's visit of Fulham, Sunderland also have home dates with Wigan and Blackburn, with a trip to Wolves sandwiched in between, and the outcomes of those will determine the squad's frame of mind ahead of the festive fixtures.

He said: "Since the turn of the year … you can look back on the reason why we started to struggle, losing Darren Bent and Danny Welbeck contributed as did the continued absence of Fraizer Campbell.

"But the signs I'm seeing now are far, far better, although we have picked up a few little knocks. In the main the squad's still decent and the longer it plays and grows together the better it'll become.

"Now we need to start stringing together a few results. We've played very well of late though but we need a few results to back that up."