Lee Cattermole will not face Southampton tomorrow after Sunderland decided against appealing the red card he received against Hull City.
Coach Gustavo Poyet was vociferous in his condemnation of the decision after the game and said he hoped to appeal, adding the proviso he would have to look at referee Andre Marriner’s report first.
Having done that, Poyet has accepted the Black Cats are unlikely to win an appeal. The Football Association has the right to extend suspensions for what it views as “frivolous” appeals.
It means Sunderland will be without Cattermole and Andrea Dossena for this week’s League Cup tie, Sunday’s televised visit of Manchester City and the trip to Stoke City the following Saturday.
Both men received straight red cards during first-half stoppage time at the KC Stadium on Saturday.
Cattermole lunged at Ahmed Elmohamady, and Dossena stamped on David Meyler.
Cattermole latest ban means he will have missed 16 matches through suspension in four-and-a-half seasons with Sunderland.
Although the former captain has been the more impressive since returning to the fold after Paolo Di Canio’s unsuccessful attempts to force him out of the club, Dossena’s suspension will be particularly troublesome for Poyet.
The Uruguayan has made great virtue of using his players in their correct positions, but Dossena is Sunderland’s only specialist left-back.
Right-footer Phil Bardsley is likely to get the job against
Southampton, as he did in Poyet’s opening game at Swansea City.
Jack Colback regularly filled in at left-back under Di Canio and his predecessor Martin O’Neill but Poyet has said publicly and privately he sees the 24-year-old as a midfielder, not a full-back.
Poyet must now consider whether to start Wes Brown after the centre-back made his first competitive appearance for 21 minutes.
Brown came on as a half-time substitute at Hull, and his assured presence was vital in the nine men keeping the Tigers out.
“To come back after so long to play nine against 11, it probably wasn’t the perfect time but he has the skills and the intelligence to do it,” Poyet said. “I’m happy that he’s back.”
Sunderland’s January Premier League visit of Southampton has been moved for television. With their usual contempt for paying supporters, the broadcasters have asked the Saints fans to make the 318-mile journey in time for a 12.45pm kick-off on January 18.
At least they have had more notice than for the League Cup last-16 tie at the Stadium of Light, moved to tomorrow at less than three weeks’ notice.
Steven Fletcher has been named in Scotland’s squad for next month’s friendlies against United States and Norway. The striker has not represented his country for eight months because of ankle and shoulder injuries. Fellow Black Cats forward Jozy Altidore is expected to play for the USA at Hampden Park on November 15.
“We are delighted to have him back obviously. Sunderland are delighted to have him back,” said Scotland manager Gordon Strachan (pictured below).
“It’s been a hard fight for him to get back but he has done great.
“He can add to what we have been doing already and if he surpasses what the boys have been doing up front in recent games, then that will be terrific.
“It will take him a wee while to get back to his best. If he’s back to his best and he can do better than what we’ve had up front, then that will be a great bonus. If he’s not back to his best, we can wait a bit because the other players playing up front now are playing well.”
There is no place for Bardsley in the squad.