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O'Neill hints at Cattermole action

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill has hinted that Lee Cattermole may face additional internal disciplinary measures after being fined in accordance with club guidelines for earning the fifth red card of his Wearsiders career this week.

Cattermole, 24, was sent off in the 2-0 Capital One Cup victory over MK Dons for a tackle that O'Neill labelled "reckless" and "senseless" at the time.

The Northern Irishman confirmed that while his midfielder has apologised for the tackle, there may some form of further action taken on top of the standard fine - which he has faced four times before.

"It will be the same discipline for him as usual. He's obviously very, very sorry about it now in the cold light of day," O'Neill told the Sunderland Echo. "But feeling sorry about it and doing something are two very different things. I suppose he genuinely thinks he will learn from it, but then I wouldn't want to vouch for that.

"It's not good being sent off five times for the club, seven times in his career, so we'll have to look at it. That's not something to be proud of. If you include the international break, he misses a month. He missed some big, important games last season. He didn't play at Goodison Park when we got the draw for example, and we need him around."

As well as Cattermole's absence, O'Neill also revealed he may be without winger Adam Johnson for Saturday's visit of Wigan Athletic, after fresh doubts over the player's fitness emerged.

Johnson, 25, joined Sunderland from Manchester City in the summer for a fee of £10 million but has been restricted to just a single Premier League appearance due to injury.

With O'Neill counting on his winger's ability to unlock defences ahead of the Latics game, the Wearsiders boss was forced to concede that ultimately the decision on whether to play is Johnson's.

"This is a game, regardless of whether Adam plays or not, where we've got to be more aggressive in outlook and make sure we're the ones attacking. The onus is on us to break them down," O'Neill said. "So I wouldn't want to continue much longer without his ability, particularly with his knack of unlocking defences.

"I have to say it's another touch-and-go weekend. He came on against MK Dons, trained fine on Wednesday, but still felt something niggling. He went for some scans on Wednesday afternoon which came up clear, there was no fresh damage. It's trying to reassure him it's okay, but I understand players want to be absolutely right about things. He rested yesterday, he'll hopefully train today, but I genuinely don't know whether he will be ready. I was hoping he'd be fit for Liverpool, but then he still wasn't fit for West Ham.

"At Manchester City, for the periods he did play, he knew possession-wise, they'd have as much as any Premier League team, if not a darn sight more. So he should be getting the ball more often if he plays tomorrow, we just have to see if he's fit."

Meanwhille, O'Neill has also had to contend with the news that his side's rescheduled fixture against Reading may not go ahead until December - due to UEFA regulations.

The Wearsiders were meant to face the Royals in late August, but the game was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. With both clubs keen to play the fixture as soon as possible, O'Neill confirmed that the club were currently in dialogue with both Reading and the Premier League about reorganising the game.

"There was a conversation between the clubs and the Premier League about when the game could take place," O'Neill told the Journal. "They decided to wait to see if both of us had been knocked out (of the League Cup ).

"We couldn't play in a European week. The only time then would be December for us, where there is only 57 games! It is absolutely extraordinarily, I must admit. I'm sure if the two clubs could get together we could organise it before December because to me that is almost insult to possible injury because of the number of games the players are playing.

"It is really crazy. December is the worst possible moment. It would be ludicrous for both clubs to play another fixture in December when we are overloaded. It would not be fair to the players. They are always talking to us about injuries to players."

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