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Sunderland defender Brown unlikely to play this season

Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill has revealed that Wes Brown is unlikely to be fit enough for senior duty this season following a serious pre-season knee injury. "It's been a long time out for Wes, who has been beset with injuries," he told the club's official website.

"He looked as if he just settling at the time I came in, but hurt himself in January last year and we've not really seen him back since.

"He had a setback out in Korea but it looked like he was making progress, but for Wes it's been a case of two steps forward and three back.

"At the moment, however, I think he's reversing that trend - it's one little step at a time at the moment.

"He's joined in training on a few days and then has to take some time out again.

"Chances are we probably won't see him between now and the end of the season, but perhaps it'll be one he wants to forget and start again next season."

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Dave Williams

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