Match Report: Hibs 0-0 Sunderland - Kieran Gives Bruce Cause For Concern

Kieran Richardson has handed Steve Bruce a bit of a headache, just when everything was going so well too!

Well that's it. It's all over. Thank you Jeebus, we can look forward to real matches once again as our up and down pre-season is wrapped up with a goalless draw in Edinburgh.

Now the game itself was far from a classic, but we're duty bound to provide a match report anyway, and I'm genuinely thankful it's the last of these games. 

Without further ado, let's get down to business...

There were a few things to note, starting with Steve Bruce's team selection, which looked suspiciously like the one he'd like to start with at Anfield in a week's time.

As far as the defensive unit goes, Simon Mignolet got the nod over Keiren Westwood between the sticks, as he did against Hartlepool, with the same back four in front of him. Westwood certainly hasn't come here to play second fiddle, but it would appear Mignolet has the early lead. The back four line-up of Kieran Richardson, Phil Bardsley, Wes Brown and perhaps somewhat surprisingly, Anton Ferdinand seems to be getting the nod over penalty giving away man-machine Titus Bramble.

It also appears Jack Colback will get the go ahead on the left of midfield following another solid outing in the position, whilst Craig Gardner, Lee Cattermole & Sebastian Larsson completed things with Stephane Sessegnon once again impressive in behind Asamoah Gyan.

So to the game itself, and the first half was a bit of a non-event. Sebastian Larsson looked very lively, heading over a chance before sending in a number of teasing balls which the likes of Gyan et al need to start capitalising on, and quickly.

Asamoah did have our best chance of the half however, when his downward header from a corner went too far down and bounced back up over the bar. That really was about it really as far as chances went. Jack Colback had a volley go wide after drifting in from the left wing, but the Hibs keeper wasn't all too troubled. 

Defensively, we were solid against a team who's season had already started, which is a bonus. Wes Brown snuffed out danger wherever it lurked and Simon Mignolet might as well have had a cup of tea and done a crossword such was his involvement in the first half.

The second half was a bit like the first really, with SAFC in complete control, but failing to really do much with it. Craig Gardner showed us a bit more as he got forward well to test the Hibs keeper with a low drive, whilst an enthusiastic Ji Dong-Won wasted perhaps the best one with a volley on the turn which caused the Korean to lose balance and fire over. With him rapidly becoming a fans favourite though, we'll let him off.

Of course with such control comes danger, and Anton came down with a nasty dose of 'The Ferdinands' which he and his brother occasionally suffer from, the main symptoms being incredibly unfortunate whilst lacking concentration. This came when Anton failed to make a clearance which rebounded straight to a Hibs striker, who luckily dragged his shot wide.

That was about it really in all honesty as far as match action went. However there was one issue which clouded the whole game - Kieran Richardson limping badly after an hour and replaced by Ahmed Elmohamady.

Richardson seems nailed on to take the starting berth on the left hand side of defence until this point, and we're all praying it's not all that bad. Of course should it be anything of major concern, Phil Bardsley will fill in ably, but just as balance was being restored, disaster strikes.

Steve Bruce has told SAFC.com that the injury to Keiran isn't expected to be bad, and we'll know more in the next 24-48 hours, however this tends to be Brucey's stock answer on injuries. John O'Shea was taken off in Germany as "just a precaution" remember, and now he's missed the rest of the pre-season.

Get well soon Kieran.

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