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O'Shea fighting fit for semi with United

SUNDERLAND hope to have John O'Shea back in the side for tomorrow's League Cup semi-final first leg clash with his former club Manchester United.

O'Shea has missed the last four games for the Black Cats with a shoulder injury but boss Gus Poyet is pleased with the Waterford man's progress and he could feature at home to David Moyes' side.

"John O'Shea is also making real progress from his shoulder injury and is looking very good in training, so we will have to check on things and see what we have available to us going into the semi-final," said Poyet.

Meanwhile, former Ireland International Graham Kavanagh admitted that he had been seduced by the 'romance' of the FA Cup despite his Carlisle side going down 3-1 to Sunderland yesterday.

Adam Johnson's sumptuous 33rd-minute free-kick handed them the lead, but it lasted just nine minutes as Matty Robson lashed home a shot to level matters.

However, the home side needed just five minutes of the second half to regain their advantage when Carlisle skipper Sean O'Hanlon turned Johnson's firm cross past goalkeeper Greg Fleming, and substitute El-Hadji Ba's last-minute strike wrapped up the win for Sunderland.

Carlisle boss Kavanagh said: "It's so exciting for a club like ourselves to come to a stadium as big as this with a fan-base as big as it is. When we beat Brentford and the draw was made for Sunderland, the excitement around the city was huge.

"The romance of the Cup has always been, and will always be fantastic, and I hope we don't lose that," Kavanagh said.

Meanwhile, Shane Long says he won't be distracted by talk about his future and a possible move away from West Brom during the transfer window. "No offers have gone in, no offers have been accepted and I know as much as anyone else does. I'm just concentrating on going to training tomorrow to try to get three points at Southampton," Long said.

"There have been no further talks and there are no further offers on the table. I'm contracted until the end of this season and then if West Brom want to take up the option after that then I'll have another season. I'll play as long as my contract is here if West Brom still want me."

"I train every day and try to get my name on the team sheet on Saturday. The rest will take care of itself. At the moment I'm a West Brom player."