JOHN O’Shea could be a doubt for next weekend’s survival showdown against Leicester, with Sunderland unsure over the length of the captain’s absence.
O’Shea travelled to Merseyside in the role of chief-cheerleader for today’s clash against Everton after his ever-present run in the side this season was brought to a halt by a rib injury.
It can be a very serious kind of injury with ribs, with the breathing. I don’t know whether it will be better next week.Dick Advocaat
The 34-year-old has not played any part in training this week and is still suffering pain from the bruising to his ribs suffered in last Saturday’s victory over Southampton.
Head coach Dick Advocaat says there was no question of gambling on O’Shea today, with the Republic of Ireland international admitting himself that he wasn’t fit enough to feature.
But Advocaat admits that due to the nature of the injury, he is unsure on the timescale of his return, with Sunderland facing a mammoth encounter against fellow strugglers Leicester at the Stadium of Light in seven days.
Advocaat told the Gazette: “We did not want to take a risk with him. He has not trained all week.
“We’ll have to see day-by-day whether it will get any better.
“It can be a very serious kind of injury with ribs, with the breathing.
“I don’t know whether it will be better next week.
“But he’s a real pro. He was desperate to play today.
“He’s honest enough to say that he cannot play though, because we have to put players in who are 100 per cent fit.”
The blow of O’Shea’s absence has been tempered by the return of ex-Manchester United team-mate Wes Brown after the centre-half made his comeback from injury earlier this week.
Brown has been sidelined since Advocaat’s opening game in charge at West Ham with a knee problem, but played 45 minutes for the Under-21s on Monday.
And Advocaat is glad to have a player of the 35-year-old’s experience back in the midst.
“Wes Brown has a great reputation as a football player for what he’s done,” he added.
“He’s played with all the big stars in the world.
“It went well for him on Monday, he feels good and he’s available.”