Bramble return delayed
Black Cats defender facing up to another three weeks on the sidelines
Last Updated: February 21, 2012 12:18pm
Titus Bramble: Unlikely to return to action until the end of March
Titus Bramble is set to be absent from the Sunderland side for at least another three weeks as he continues to nurse Achilles and calf problems.
The centre-half has been sidelined since picking up a knock on Boxing Day, with the ailment preventing him from staking a claim to a regular place in Martin O'Neill's starting XI.
It was initially suggested that he would come back into contention in January, but a setback in training has kept him on the treatment table.
Bramble has now been fitted with a protective boot in an effort to aid his recovery, but it is likely to be the end of March before he is ready for a recall.
Fellow defender Wes Brown is set to be kept out of action for a similar amount of time with a knee injury, but deadline day signing Sotirios Kyrgiakos and the fit again Matt Kilgallon can provide cover at the heart of the back four.
O'Neill is disappointed to have seen Bramble ruled out of his plans for the foreseeable future, but hopes the next course of treatment will see the 30-year-old back to full health.
"Titus has got a boot on and he's going to be immobile now for a few weeks," O'Neill told the Sunderland Echo.
"He'll be in it for the next three weeks, which is a setback."