All-clear for Sunderland’s trip to Stoke

Wes Brown.
Wes Brown.
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SUNDERLAND’S squad is expected to be given a clean bill of health when it reassembles at the Academy of Light today.

The Black Cats had 10 players away representing their countries during the international break, with those who featured in Tuesday night’s games due to report back for training on Wearside this morning.

Sunderland have not been made aware of any injury problems and Gus Poyet is expected to have a clean bill of health for Saturday’s Premier League trip to Stoke City, albeit Lee Cattermole and Andrea Dossena both miss out by serving the final game of their three-match suspensions.

Even back-up centre-halves Carlos Cuellar and Valentin Roberge should be available to Poyet after missing the victory over Manchester City 10 days ago through injury.

Poyet told the Echo: “So far, the ones who’ve come back are OK.

“We’ll see about the others today, but there have been no reports of any injuries.”

Poyet’s main fitness headache will inevitably revolve around whether Wes Brown can make his third successive first-team start.

Brown has trained unscathed during the international break and was given a lighter session yesterday to ensure that he avoided any last-gasp problems ahead of the crunch relegation clash with the fourth-bottom Potters.

And Poyet admits Sunderland’s physios are having to curb Brown’s enthusiasm after the former England international made his return after 22 months on the sidelines.

“We’ve followed the plan with Wes and the medical staff have been excellent,” added the head coach.

“He’s trained 99 per cent every day.

“We looked after him a bit yesterday because of the amount of days he’s been training.

“But he’s done the ugliest and hardest part.

“The problem with Wes is he wants to train and sometimes it’s us who are telling him to settle down.

“He’s been away so long that he wants to be part of it.

“He doesn’t want to be in the gym again because he’s been there for almost two years.

“But he’s experienced so when you tell him to take it easy, he does.

“Yesterday was the day to take it easy a little bit.”

H Sunderland Under-21s’ friendly against Evo-Stik League club Darlington 1883 at Bishop Auckland last night was called off because of a waterlogged pitch at Heritage Park.

The postponement was a particular disappointment for midfielder Lee Cattermole, who asked to be involved to maintain his fitness as he serves a three-match suspension which ends with this weekend’s Premier League game at Stoke.

El-Hadji Ba and Valentin Roberge were also due to feature for Kevin Ball’s side.