Sunderland defender Wes Brown faces another lengthy injury lay-off
Monday 23 July 2012
Sunderland defender Wes Brown was today heading back to Wearside fearing yet another lengthy injury lay-off.
The 32-year-old former Manchester United player limped off during the first half of yesterday's 3-2 Peace Cup victory over FC Groningen in Korea with suspected knee ligament damage.
With summer signing Carlos Cueller having already left the pitch with a thigh problem and both Phil Bardsley and Matt Kilgallon not fit enough to make the trip to the Far East, Black Cats boss Martin O'Neill's defensive problems appear to be mounting.
O'Neill told the Sunderland Echo: "Wes is the worry. It could be a bad one, but we really don't know at this stage.
"You are told one thing at half-time and another thing at full-time, so really, it's too early to tell.
"We will probably only find out once we are home and it settles down, but hopefully it won't be too bad because he's an important player for us."
Brown arrived at the Stadium of Light last summer from Old Trafford, where injuries had repeatedly hampered him, but started each of the first 20 games of the new campaign.
A groin strain suffered in a famous 1-0 Barclays Premier League victory over Manchester City on New Year's Day saw him sit out three games, but it was a knee injury sustained in an FA Cup fourth round tie against Middlesbrough on January 29 which effectively ended his season.
Cuellar, 30, is less of a concern, and his premature departure was more precautionary.
O'Neill and his players were heading back to England today after finishing third in the four-team tournament, with substitute Ryan Noble's strike at the Suwon Stadium having seen them come out on top in the third and fourth place play-off game.
The Ulsterman will hope to step up his recruitment drive on his return - former Aston Villa defender Cuellar is his only new acquisition to date - with attacking players his priority.
Reports over the weekend suggested he had returned to Villa to snap up Stephen Warnock and James Collins, but while maintaining his stance of refusing to talk about specific players, O'Neill hinted he is currently concentrating on a different set of targets.
He said: "Undoubtedly, what is focusing my mind more than anything else is the need to strengthen our attacking options.
"We have lost Nicklas Bendtner after his loan, we have lost Asamoah Gyan from our squad list and we need to bring in strikers.
"What I am looking to do is bring in attacking players who have quality and who have more experience than we have now, because, when you look at our squad in terms of attackers, we are short on experience and it's something we need to try to address."
Latest in Sport
Why does Manuel Pellegrini keep picking Martin Demichelis for Manchester City?
England 29 Wales 18 player ratings: Who was the star man at Twickenham?
David Meyler, Samuel Eto'o and the best, most controversial and bizarre goal celebrations
Bayern Munich v Arsenal: 10 reasons for Arsenal to be optimistic of Champions League progress
Bayern Munich v Arsenal: Arsene Wenger pleads for 'fair chance' from referee as Arsenal look to turn around Champions League deficit
- 2 Family forced to flee home after discovering 'terrifying' nest of spiders in bananas
- 3 First Kiss: Filmmaker gets 20 strangers to make out on YouTube with awkward results
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised