Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Duo Get Poyet's Seal of Approval

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Duo Get Poyet's Seal of Approval

Article excerpt

GUS Poyet has backed his second-string centrebacks Valentin Roberge and Modibo Diakite ahead of what could be their last league pairing for the foreseeable future.

With Wes Brown suspended and John O'Shea injured, summer imports Roberge and Diakite have started Sunderland's last two games at Everton and Cardiff City, and are set to continue their partnership when Aston Villa visit Wearside this afternoon.

But with Brown's threematch ban ending after today's game, he is likely to be back in the side by the time Sunderland head to Fulham for their next league match a week on Saturday - if not before, as the Black Cats take on Carlisle in the FA Cup on Sunday, and then his old club Manchester United in the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg on Tuesday.

Roberge and Diakite excelled at Everton on Boxing Day, as Sunderland kept their third successive clean sheet.

But they were less convincing in the 2-2 draw at Cardiff at the weekend.

However Poyet insists he understands it was asking a lot for the duo to play 180 minutes of Premier League football in 48 hours when Roberge had played only 51 minutes in more than two months, and Diakite had not played at all since September. …

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