STEPHANE SESSEGNON is unlikely to miss next Saturday’s visit of Manchester United despite pulling out of a crunch World Cup qualifier.
The Sunderland forward has caused consternation in his homeland of Benin by withdrawing from Tuesday’s international with Algeria.
Sessegnon has remained at the Academy of Light for treatment on the injury, thought to be the groin problem he first aggravated at QPR a fortnight ago.
The 28-year-old, who has featured in every Premier League game for Sunderland this season, complained of the injury again after the draw with Norwich City last weekend and opted against reporting for international duty.
But the problem is not thought to be a serious one and he is expected to be fit for the televised meeting with the league leaders after a period of treatment with Sunderland’s medical staff.
Sessegnon has informed international manager Manuel Amoros that he would be unavailable for both the Algeria game and the preparatory training camp in Marseille.
But the absence of the skipper has still caused some dismay in Africa, for a game where Benin will look to boost their hopes of reaching a first ever World Cup finals.
Benin currently lie at the top of African Qualification Group H after taking four points from their opening two games.
Algeria, situated a point behind, will take over the leadership if they emerge victorious from Tuesday’s home encounter.
Meanwhile, long-term Sunderland absentee Wes Brown insists he is making progress in his hopes of returning to competitive football after 14 months on the sidelines.
Brown played 90 minutes for Sunderland Under-21s in a behind-closed-doors game on Wednesday after months of setbacks since suffering a re-lapse of knee ligament damage during the pre-season tour of South Korea.
“I feel good and have been training for a month now,” said the former England international. It’s been frustrating – I’ve had a few setbacks along the way but the last couple of months have gone well.
“That was my first game in just over a year and it went well.
“Obviously I felt rusty but as the game went on I got my second wind and it fell into place.
“I’ll need a few games before I go back in. It helps get your mind focused and gets you back into the swing of things.”