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The adaptable Irish defender is in line to face the Reds this weekend by wearing a protective cast after picking up the injury in last week's hard fought Tyne-Wear derby draw

John O'Shea will be fit to face Liverpool in this Sunday's Premier League encounter despite fracturing his hand.

The 30-year-old, who signed for Sunderland from Manchester United last summer, will wear a protective cast to enable him to be able to continue playing.

O'Shea was able to complete last weekend's game, which saw the Black Cats held to a 1-1 draw after conceding an injury time equaliser at Newcastle, but there were concerns over his fitness for the upcoming home fixture.

Despite being given the go-ahead after a scan, boss Martin O'Neill admitted there were concerns over O'Shea's wellbeing immediately after he sustained the injury.

O'Neill told the Sunderland Echo: "John O'Shea got a hand injury at Newcastle. It's a small bone in his hand which has fractured.

"But he wants to play on Saturday, so we will splint it up for a few weeks. He could hardly hold anything after the game - he doesn't even remember how it happened.

"I was really worried about him. He went down to a place at Wigan on Monday, but the news was good."

The news was not so positive for Kieran Richardson however, after he limped off with a calf injury in the same game. A scan revealed he may not be ready to return to the team.

O'Neill added: "Kieran did get an injury. He had a scan yesterday, which is a concern."

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