GUS Poyet has promised to take no risks with star performer Wes Brown – even though he admits he is likely to start the ex-Manchester United man against Chelsea on Wednesday, writes GRAEME ANDERSON.
The 34-year-old is still making his way back to full match fitness after a 22-month lay-off with a succession of injuries.
But he has been involved in five games in a month since his return and Poyet is only too aware of the risks of overplaying the defender.
“We are really looking after Wes Brown,” he said. “We are trying. We are constantly asking questions, but we are always getting very good answers from him.
“Now, we need to keep him fit.
“I’m not a magician, I cannot see the future, but I hope that we can keep him going because I’m sure that if we do, physically he will get better.
“Can he play Wednesday?
“Yes, I think he can from what I’ve seen at Villa Park, but I need to check on that on Tuesday because I’m not 100 per cent sure and we have be sure.
“It’s the same with John O’Shea, who just managed to get through the game – just.
“We have to make sure that they are fine to play because, if they are not, we have others who can come in.”
Poyet is quick to agree, though, that Brown’s return has been a massive boost to the side and the classy defender will have been a big miss over the preceding couple of years.
“When you have a player like him in your squad who has played at the highest level, Champions League and won the Premier League and you can’t use him, I’m sure it is very frustrating,” he said.
“You always want to use him all the time.
“But I’ve been the lucky manager here in that I got here just as he got fit and I’ve been able to call on him when others have not.”