WES Brown is adamant he will be fit for the Premier League curtain-raiser.
Brown makes his Sunderland bow in tonight’s friendly at SPL outfit Kilmarnock after missing the club’s first four outings of pre-season.
The former Manchester United defender has been forced to take it easy after starting just four Premier League games last year and sustaining a slight knock to his hip following his £1million to the Stadium of Light.
While his new team-mates were able to hit the training pitch at full tilt during Sunderland’s German pre-season tour, Brown was forced to work in one-on-one sessions with a fitness coach.
But Brown is now in full training and believes he will be ready for the trip to Liverpool on August 13, with tonight’s encounter the first of four remaining friendlies.
The 31-year-old told the Echo: “It’s frustrating because most of the lads have played four games now and I’ve not played any.
“But hopefully tonight will go well and I start off from there.
“You want to be playing every game and when the start of the season comes, that’s what I want to be doing. But we had a chat and it was advised that I took it a bit slower and eased into it.
“I’ve just been taken it a bit easier, not going into it 100 per cent straight away. I’ve not rushed myself back because I didn’t play a lot last season and I had a good few weeks off over the summer.
“It was probably better that I went into it a bit slower.
“That’s what pre-season is about and you’ve got to do the best thing to be fit for the start of the season. I’ll have no problem being fit for the start of the season.
“I’m stepping it up training-wise as well now and doing a bit of extra work.”
Brown is eager to set the record straight regarding his reputation as an injury-prone defender.
While the former England international acknowledges he has been sidelined for significant periods during his career, Brown does not believe he is susceptible to persistent minor knocks.
“A lot of people say I was always injured which is fair enough,” added Brown. “But it was main injuries which I had – two Achilles and a broken ankle.
“It wasn’t loads of little niggles or anything, it was serious ones. I’ve come back from then and done really well.
“The injuries I’ve had haven’t come from throwing myself into tackles, it’s been turning in training and stuff like that.”