WES Brown says Sunderland’s narrow league victory over Manchester City earlier this season will help strengthen their resolve at Wembley tomorrow.
Brown, and former Manchester United team-mate John O’Shea, formed the central defensive partnership on November 10 when prolific City were prevented from scoring - a goal from Brown’s fellow Mancunian Phil Bardsley giving the Wearsiders victory on the day.
And although Brown accepts that result in itself won’t give Sunderland the upper-hand in tomorrow’s final, he believes it will help with the side’s self-confidence.
“City know they have a stronger squad and they are doing very well in the league, which will give them confidence,” acknowledged the 34-year-old.
“Man City are strong in every position on the pitch, they can score from anywhere, the defence is solid and you can see why they are near the top of the league with our game in hand to go top.
“But we beat them in the league and maybe that’s to our advantage.
“It will add to our belief that we won’t get battered because we know we’ve done it before.
“I think that will help.
“It will help keep us going because we had to give every possible ounce of effort to win that game back in November and this weekend will be exactly the same - we have to give everything, like you always have to against sides like City.
“The reality is that anything can happen.
“And I have to say I’m looking forward to it.
“In my career, I’ve always enjoyed the finals.”
Brown admits that he has had a couple of anxious moments since his sending off against Hull City three weeks saw him suspended almost to the eve of the cup final.
A two game ban for a foul on Shane Long - which looked as though it would be over inside a week - suddenly stretched to three weeks after weather conditions forced the postponement of the league game against Man City at the Etihad.
Thankfully there have been no more postponements since that date and the defender returns for the cup final in the nick of time.
In the weeks in between, he has been keeping himself fit - Gus Poyet revealing: “We have been making sure he remains in peak condition but I think he has been frustrated at not having a games at the end of each week’s work.”
Brown agreed: `I’ve trained hard ever since I’ve been sent off, in fact I’ve probably done more than the rest of the lads.
“But obviously it has been disappointing that I haven’t been on the pitch.
“I’m ready for the weekend though if selected, and just glad that I’m available.
“After the league game against Man City was called off, I was just praying it wouldn’t snow!”
H Check out Monday’s Sunderland Echo for extensive coverage of the Capital One Cup Final.