TITUS Bramble has suffered a setback in his bid to return to first-team proceedings.
Bramble has been on the sidelines since Boxing Day after sustaining a problem to his Achilles and calf during the first half of Sunderland’s 1-1 draw with Everton.
The 30-year-old returned to training last week and had been in contention for a place on the bench in Saturday’s visit of Swansea.
Bramble felt he was not ready to return to Premier League action and asked Black Cats boss Martin O’Neill if could spend longer on the training field before being considered.
But the former Newcastle United centre-half suffered a relapse while training over the weekend and was ruled out of Tuesday’s reserve team win over Bolton.
“Titus trained with us last week for a couple of days and because he’d had no reaction, I put him into the squad for the game on Saturday,” said O’Neill, who rubbished talk this week of Ipswich bidding to take Bramble back to Portman Road.
“But he came to me on Friday and didn’t think he would be ready.
“I said that was fine and he could do some training over the weekend.
“But having done some training, his Achilles is sore again and that’s why he missed out again on Tuesday night.”
Bramble has made just seven appearances for Sunderland this season after being laid low by injuries and off-the-field problems.
The defender did not appear for the first-team until September following knee injuries throughout the second half of last season and was then suspended by the club for six weeks.
O’Neill recalled Bramble to the fold after replacing Steve Bruce and Bramble had impressed before succumbing against the Toffees.
Meanwhile, O’Neill is hopeful Jack Colback and Matt Kilgallon’s stints on the sidelines will not be much longer.
The duo both suffered ankle injuries earlier this month, but neither were as serious as initially feared.