MARTIN O’NEILL will scour the market for defensive reinforcements this month after admitting he is unsure whether Wes Brown will play again this season.
The injury-plagued centre-back’s last competitive outing was against Middlesbrough on January 29. Since then the ex-Manchester United defender has had a succession of knee injuries.
Without him, and with John O’Shea straining his hamstring against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, O’Neill could be forced to give Titus Bramble a run in the side, despite admitting the centre-back “has not been fit for some time”.
Brown returned to training last month but, not for the first time, it proved a false dawn.
“Wes is feeling really frustrated with it all,” said O’Neill. “He just has ten or so days where he thinks he is going well and then gets a setback.
“He has these injections, a course of sugar injections, which are making him feel better at the minute. He feels they are benefiting him and I think the lad (Stoke City captain Ryan) Shawcross had them some time back.
“We have lost his services and it has got to the stage where we can’t even consider him. The last time he played for us was pre-season. You can’t believe that we are at New Year and he still hasn’t played. It’s bad enough for us so it must be terrible for him.”
When asked directly if he thought Brown would play again this season, O’Neill replied: “I will leave it with him and see how things go. It would be great if he could but he is pretty frustrated.”