PHIL Bardsley and Matt Kilgallon will not play again for Sunderland if Paolo Di Canio gets his way.
In the wake of the two players being photographed in a casino in the early hours of Wednesday morning, both were fined and neither travelled with the team to Spurs yesterday.
And while Di Canio says no firm decision has yet been made on their future, he will take some convincing that they still have a future at the club.
They have been disciplined and fined heavily but Kilgallon – who is out of contract this summer – and Bardsley, who has a year left on his deal, might also find no way back at Sunderland.
Di Canio said: “I will think about what happens next.
“I like to give everyone a second chance but we are not talking about a kid. We are talking about a man with a family at home and we have to punish this kind of behaviour.
“At this moment, the way I feel, the players will not be at the club, if it is my decision. Not, for me.
“We have a plan in terms of changes we might make.”
Pictures of Bardsley and Kilgallon on their late night session were posted on various websites last week and made lurid Sunday newspaper headlines.
It was always likely they would not feature in the Spurs game, given Di Canio’s openly publicised firm line on discipline.
But the Italian revealed he had made his mind up to omit Bardsley even before he saw the photograph.
“I saw the Phil Bardsley picture on a website and he was on a late night out,” said the Italian.
“So, naturally, he was out of my squad.
“But he was out of my squad before I even saw the picture.
“I realised, even before I saw it, that things were wrong with Phil and I had not planned to play him on Sunday because he looked blurry.
“He was not looking at me when I was talking to him, or taking things in. The signs were there.
“Some players obviously went out on Tuesday after the Wigan result and celebrated.
“And that’s OK if the celebration is moderate.
“But later and later until it was in the early hours of the morning – unacceptable.
“How can I play a player at the weekend who is blurry for two or three days during the week? It is impossible!
“So now I send out a very clear message that there is no excuse to behave like he did.
“I can understand it if we win the Champions League or the FA Cup, that you might go out and have a night out like that.
“But after another club beat Wigan? Are we going to do this every time we beat a club like Man United or Arsenal?
“No, we are not.”
The Professional Footballers’ Association is involved and hope to sort the situation out, while Sunderland are holding an internal investigation.
But the chances are now almost certain that Kilgallon will leave Sunderland after the expiry of his contract in June and Bardsley will be allowed to leave for another club.