MARTIN O’Neill believes that Titus Bramble could be a key defender for Sunderland this season – despite dropping him for last week’s game against Manchester City.
The veteran centre-half has been in excellent form for Sunderland this season, deputising for Carlos Cuellar while the Spaniard recovered from a hamstring strain.
And although Cuellar took his place in the 3-0 defeat at Manchester City last week, Bramble is almost certain to be in the squad set to face his former club Newcastle United at the Stadium of Light next weekend.
O’Neill has been impressed by the quality of the 31-year-old, currently in the last year of his contract, and believes he has the potential to be an asset for some time to come.
He says the challenge is ensuring Bramble doesn’t continue picking up niggling injuries: “Titus’s problems are always about staying fit,” he pointed out.
“It is always a balancing act with Titus in training during the week – we have to get as much training into him without aggravating any injuries or risking swelling of the knees.
“It’s a shame because you can see just how good he could have been had it not been for the injuries but he still has a lot to offer.
“He’s bigger and stronger than he looks too, from a distance or on television you’d think he’d be 5ft 11ins but he’s actually a big player and he won’t get out-muscled by anyone.”
SEE Saturday’s Mail for full story