WES BROWN hopes he can continue his injury comeback by starting Wednesday’s Capital One Cup clash with Southampton after making his first competitive appearance in almost two years.
Brown was a half-time substitute in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Hull City, as nine-man Sunderland’s hopes of building on their derby triumph were thwarted by the quick-fire double dismissal of Lee Cattermole and Andrea Dossena.
The former England international’s previous Premier League outing was in January 2012, with a pre-season knee problem scuppering his hopes of being fit for the start of the campaign.
But Brown has been training unscathed for several weeks and after two 90-minute run-outs for the Under-21s, the 34-year-old returned at the KC Stadium and has now set his sights on a first start in this week’s last 16 cup tie with the Saints.
Brown said: “It was only 45 minutes, so for myself that was fine. It was good.
“It was just good to be back in the swing of things.
“Hopefully I can get a chance against Southampton. That’s what I’ve been working for, that’s why I’ve been working hard in training.
“We’ll see what happens, but touch-wood, I can play a part.
“I’ve had a few reserve games so I was always looking to come back into the Hull game and be in the squad.
“But it was disappointing with the way I came back after getting two men sent off in the first half. It was always going to be a battle from then on.
“It’s good to be back. To be fair, I’ve been training for three or four weeks now.
“I had a few reserve games just to get me back into it.
“But obviously playing first-team is a lot different.”
Brown was part of a spirited second half display from Sunderland, who refused to throw in the towel and could have even grabbed a shock leveller through half-time substitute Adam Johnson.
But Gus Poyet’s side paid the price for the double dismissal of Lee Cattermole and Andrea Dossena, who were both handed straight red cards in first half stoppage time.
“With nine men, we just had to do what we could,” added Brown.
“We didn’t let any goals in during the second half, but it was always going to be difficult.
“I don’t think I’ve ever played in a game where two men have been sent off so quickly. They were only in the space of four minutes. That made it difficult.
“We tried to make it difficult for them, which I think we did.
“Obviously they had a lot of the ball and put in a lot of crosses, but I thought we dealt with them quite well.
“And we had a couple of chances ourselves when we could have nicked one.
“But if we were going to score, it was going to be that single chance, when we were maybe a bit unlucky.”