JOHN O’SHEA will have no complaints if Dick Advocaat sticks with Wes Brown and Sebastian Coates in central defence for Sunderland’s survival showdown against Leicester City.
After missing last weekend’s win at Everton with sore ribs, Sunderland captain O’Shea hopes to be back in contention for tomorrow’s huge encounter against Leicester, as the Black Cats look to record the victory which could seal their Premier League survival.
Hopefully I’ll be ready and available because it’s obviously a huge game and these are the ones you want to take part inJohn O’Shea
However, even if O’Shea is available, there is no guarantee that he will go straight back into the starting XI after Brown and Coates excelled together at Goodison Park, sealing a clean sheet in only their second outing as a defensive pairing.
“Fingers crossed, the ribs will recover in time,” said O’Shea, who returned to training yesterday.
“Last week, the lads did brilliant – Seb and Wes in particular – so it’s up to the manager.
“It’s not as if you come straight back in.
“The boys did fantastic down at Everton, and they will thoroughly deserve to start again.
“But hopefully I’ll be ready and available because it’s obviously a huge game and these are the ones you want to take part in.”
O’Shea was at Goodison Park last Saturday as a spectator, yet his absence on the field brought an end to his run of starting every game this season for Sunderland.
“It would have been nice to play every game, but then I’d have had to avoid Costel’s (Pantilimon) knee in the Southampton game!” said the 34-year-old.
“Ultimately, the main thing is for Sunderland to stay in the Premier League.”
Victory over Leicester, coupled with anything less than a win for third-bottom Hull at Spurs, would rubber-stamp Sunderland’s Premier League survival after Advocaat’s side have taken seven points from the last three games.
And while Leicester, who are a point above Sunderland, will arrive on Wearside full of confidence after six wins out of seven, O’Shea stresses that the Black Cats’ fate is very much in their own hands.
“Leicester are on the run they’re on, they’ve been playing very well, so they’re not going to surprise us in the sense that we know they’ll be very confident,” he said.
“But we’re at home against Leicester. If we perform, we can win the game.
“That’s what we have to have in our thoughts.
“It’s all well and good thinking about results going for you, but it’s down to us.
“You want to be a Premier League player, want to be a Premier League team.
“It’s a game against a so-called relegation rival, so you want to win the game and remain a Premier League player. That’s how you want to be remembered.
“If we can get across the line this weekend, that’s great, but we need to do it ourselves.”