Brown still fine for final – as long as Sunderland avoid another postponement

Wes Brown.
Wes Brown.
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THE postponement of last night’s game will not affect Wes Brown’s availability for the Capital One Cup final.

Many fans feared that the cancellation of Sunderland’s away game against Manchester City due to safety concerns would mean Brown’s suspension being shifted to cover the Wembley showpiece game.

But the 34-year-old centre-back – red-carded against Hull City last weekend – is to serve only a two-game ban.

The City call-off means Brown will now miss Saturday’s FA Cup fifth round game at home to Southampton and the Premier League game away to Arsenal next Saturday, February 22.

If those games go ahead as planned, he will definitely be available for the Wembley final against Manchester City on Sunday, March 2.

That will be a comfort to Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet, with Brown being instrumental in the Black Cats’ revival over the last few months.

The Wearsiders have kept one clean sheet in 13 league games this season without Wes Brown starting.

That compares to six in 12 with the former Manchester United star, while five of the six encounters in which Sunderland have conceded three or more goals occurred in his absence.

Poyet had said he has been thrilled with centre-half Santiago Vergini since his arrival on loan from Estudiantes in the January transfer window and has no qualms about throwing the Argentine defender into any game this season.

But having a player of Brown’s obvious quality available to him for the Capital One Cup final will undoubtedly be a boost to Sunderland’s hopes of doing themselves justice at Wembley next month.