Brown out of Sunderland’s opener against Fulham

Wes Brown.

Wes Brown.

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WES BROWN has been ruled out of Sunderland’s Premier League opener against Fulham on Saturday.

The 33-year-old’s return to fitness has been one of the big plus points of the Black Cats’ pre-season campaign after the former England international had endured more than 18 months without a competitive game.

But Brown (pictured) missed Sunderland’s final pre-season friendly against Danish side Midjtylland last week, after suffering a minor problem with the knee that has been at the root of his injury woes.

Brown is only days away from a return to full training, but, with fellow centre-halves John O’Shea, Carlos Cuellar, Valentin Roberge and Modibo Diakite at his disposal, head coach Paolo Di Canio is wary of risking the former Manchester United man.

Di Canio told the Echo: “Wes has improved over the last few days.

“Another few days and he can start joining in with the rest of the team in training.

“But, for this game, we will not risk him because we have had that scenario in the past and it is silly.

“We have four central defenders to choose from and he (Brown) will be important during the season so we must not risk him.”

Despite an injury setback on the eve of the campaign, Di Canio believes Brown can play his part this term.

The Italian says the defender proved his fitness during pre-season after Sunderland had offered to pay off the remaining two years of his contract.

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