THE cancellation of last night’s game at the Etihad will not affect Wes Brown’s availability for the Capital One Cup final.
Many fans feared that the postponement of Sunderland’s away game against Manchester City due to safety concerns would mean Brown’s suspension being shifted to cover the Wembley showpiece game.
But the 34-year-old - red-carded against Hull City at the weekend - is to serve only a two game ban.
The cancellation of the City game means Brown will now miss the FA Cup fifth round game against Southampton this weekend and the Premier League game against Arsenal on Saturday, February 22.
If those games go ahead as planned, he will definitely be available for the final on Sunday, March 2.
That will be a comfort to Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet, with Brown being instrumental in Sunderland’s revival over the last few months.
The Black Cats have kept one clean sheet in 13 league games this season without Wes Brown starting.
Their one shutout in 13 without him compares to six in 12 with him, and five of the six encounters in which Sunderland have conceded three or more occurred in his absence.
Poyet had said he has been thrilled with centre-half Santiago Vergini since his arrival in the January transfer window and has no qualms about throwing the Argentine defender into any game this season.
But having a player of Brown’s obvious quality available to him for the Capital One Cup final will undoubtedly be a boost to Sunderland’s hopes of doing themselves justice at Wembley next month.