WES BROWN could be in contention for this weekend’s first-team trip to Everton after a successful comeback for Sunderland Under-21s.
Brown played 45 minutes in the U21s’ 1-0 win over the Toffees youngsters last night after more than six weeks on the sidelines since injuring his knee at West Ham in Dick Advocaat’s opening game in charge.
Advocaat was at Eppleton CW to watch Brown’s return to action, with the 35-year-old always expected to be removed at the interval.
But with ex-Manchester United team-mate John O’Shea an injury doubt for this Saturday’s Premier League clash after coming off against Southampton with a rib injury, plus concussion, Brown could be involved in the squad at Goodison Park.
Development coach Robbie Stockdale told the Gazette: “There’s no issues with him.
“He’s not had a lot of training, but it was planned for him to come at half-time.
“He came down with the right attitude and he’s finding his way back from fitness.
“It was good for him, and in fairness, he was on the bench through the second half and encouraging the lads on.”
Duncan Watmore’s fifth goal in as many games proved sufficient for Sunderland, with the 21-year-old’s scuffed shot finding the bottom corner following a surging run - moments after he had spurned a far more presentable opportunity from six yards out.
“I thought it was a fantastic receive on the half-turn and once he gets running at people, he’s deceptively quick,” added Stockdale.
“He’s probably quicker with the ball than without.
“It wasn’t the cleanest of strikes, but on that surface, he’s hit the target.
“We knew Everton would come up and give us a really hard game.
“The early injury to Liam (Agnew) in centre-midfield meant we had to re-jig things a little bit.
“The pitch wasn’t easy, really bobbly, quite hard, but a bit of individual brilliance wins you the game and in tight games, sometimes that’s how it is.”
Meanwhile, Sunderland have been linked with a fresh move for out-of-contract Manchester City defender Micah Richards.
The Black Cats were offered Richards’ services on a season-long loan last summer, but then head coach Gus Poyet opted against the move.
Poyet didn’t think that Richards would fit into his playing philosophy, with Sunderland instead landing Liverpool’s Sebastian Coates on a loan deal.
Richards ultimately joined Serie A’s Fiorentina on loan and has made 18 appearances for the Italian side in all competitions this season.
But the 26-year-old’s Man City contract expires this summer and he will leave the Etihad on a free transfer.