The play-off suspension rules explained and why key Sunderland midfielder is not in danger ahead of Southend clash

Lee Cattermole scores Sunderland's goal at Fleetwood
Lee Cattermole scores Sunderland's goal at Fleetwood
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Lee Cattermole could be rested for Saturday's trip to Southend United, but the midfielder is not at risk of missing part of the play-off campaign through suspension.

Cattermole is currently on 13 yellow cards for the season.

Two more would trigger an automatic three-game suspension and bring an end to his season.

However, Sunderland have clarified that cautions are not carried into the play-off games.

So, for example, if Cattermole was booked on Saturday, a further yellow in either of the play-off semi finals would not end his season.

As such, only a red card would now see his availability affected.

Of course, Jack Ross may choose to give 31-year-old a rest after playing a lot of minutes recently.

EFL regulations mean Ross must name ten of the squad from the defeat at Fleetwood Town again.

He is also eager to protect the integrity of the relegation battle in League One and ensure his own side go into the play-offs on a high.

"With the exception of the two or three that we have as fitness doubts, the squad that we have will by and large be the same," Ross said.

"So we're just treating it as a normal game in terms of the squad.

"We might make some changes to the team but that will just be for some freshness, as we've had a lot of games recently.

"But the actual squad will be similar apart from the injuries."