Cattermole captaincy not under threat

Fri, 09 Mar 13:19:55 2012

Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill will not strip Lee Cattermole of the captain's armband despite his derby-day dismissal.

The 23-year-old had already earned himself a two-match ban which ruled him out of the FA Cup quarter-final against Everton with his 10th booking of the campaign in the opening minute of last Sunday's 1-1 draw at Newcastle when he further blotted his copybook.

A furious Cattermole confronted referee Mike Dean on the pitch after the final whistle and after a four-letter volley, was promptly shown a red card which extended his suspension to four games starting with the home Barclays Premier League fixture against Liverpool.

O'Neill - who had earlier seen forward Stephane Sessegnon dismissed for elbowing Cheick Tiote, incurring his own three-match ban in the process - did not even learn of his skipper's fate until he returned to the dressing room and was suitably unimpressed.

However, asked if he had considered the famously combative Cattermole's position as captain, he said: "No, absolutely not, no. I was asked a few weeks ago if I thought I had cured him and I'm afraid I stared into the abyss on that one.

"Listen, on a serious note, it was obviously very disappointing for me to go into the dressing room and see a rather dejected-looking Sessegnon, to be followed by the news that the captain had been sent off. I thought I must have missed the last five minutes but he was sent off at the end of the game. He has been absolutely fantastic, really fantastic when he has played for us."


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