Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has pleaded with the club's faithful to get behind new signing Titus Bramble.
Bruce, who worked with the central defender at Wigan Athletic, has brought him to the Stadium of Light from the Latics, but he is concerned that the Black Cats supporters will be unhappy with the recent acquisition.
Bramble endured a mistake-riddled spell with north east rivals Newcastle United earlier in his career and, despite his connections with the Magpies, Bruce is confident he has what it takes to be a big hit on Wearside.
"Look, I thought long and hard about signing him, long and hard because I knew it might be a difficult one for Sunderland fans and for him," Bruce said to Sunderland Echo.
"But the great thing is that the lad's got plenty of bottle – he wanted to come here, he wanted to play for me and Sunderland, and I feel sure that Sunderland fans will recognise that and give him a fair crack of the whip.
"At the end of the day, Sunderland fans want the same as me and the same as Titus Bramble, which is success for this club."
"If Titus shows – as I think he will – that he can make us better, then I don't think supporters will have a problem accepting him.
"The easiest thing would have been not to sign him and to avoid any hassle, but I think he's a player who can genuinely improve us.
"He had a difficult start to his top-flight career. I think the move to Newcastle was too soon for him, it was too big a club at too tender an age and he's had his work cut out to shift the image of himself he created there."