Patrick van Aanholt could return to action on Wednesday night after being withdrawn from the Sunderland team at the last minute on the advice of heart specialists.
The 26-year-old full-back found himself at the centre of a whirl of speculation at Tottenham on Sunday afternoon when after being sent out to warm up, he was told he would not be playing after all.
Black Cats boss David Moyes cited “medical reasons” after the game but would not elaborate, although he revealed on Tuesday morning that Van Aanholt was stood down after medical chiefs had looked at the results of regulation cardiology tests and decided further investigation was required.
Moyes, who was less than impressed with the timing of the news, said: “He had the statutory checks with the cardiologists and the FA panel of cardiologists looked at it and advised us really late on Sunday that he should not play until further tests had taken place.
“We are just surprised that the FA panel didn’t contact me or contact my doctor until 3.55pm on Sunday afternoon. I have never in my career been put in a situation like that ever, so we had that to deal with.
“We just can’t understand why the message would come to us at that time, 30 minutes before the kick-off.”
However, the FA, which carries out around 1,400 screens across England and Wales each year, has insisted it had no formal involvement in the matter.
A spokesperson said: “This cardiac screen was not conducted as part of the FA’s cardiac screening programme, therefore the FA had no involvement in the player’s referral, the screening process or the communication of the results with the club.
“On occasion, clubs may seek independent advice on a player’s cardiac health from an expert cardiologist who sits on the FA Consensus Panel, which is an expert body in this area.
“Cardiologists who sit on the FA Consensus Panel are hugely respected and vastly experienced specialists who place the patient at the very centre of their care and their only concern will be in regard to the well-being of that individual.”
Van Aanholt’s place was taken by Jason Denayer and Moyes’ post-match comments – or lack of them – prompted a series of conspiracy theories.
However, the Dutchman has now had further tests and been given the all-clear to play once again, although his manager is yet to decide if he will feature in the EFL Cup third-round trip to QPR on Wednesday evening.
Sunderland head for Loftus Road yet to claim a Premier League win in five attempts this season and hoping the League Cup can kick-start their campaign.
Summer signing Papy Djilobodji has endured a difficult start to life on Wearside, with his error allowing Harry Kane to fire Spurs to victory over the weekend.
However, Moyes, who will be without Jermain Defoe because of a calf problem and Adnan Januzaj through suspension, has been pleased with elements of what he has seen from the £8million man and has been impressed with the attitude of a player who has been thrown in at the deep end since the unexpected departure of Younes Kaboul.
He said: “Yes, we know he has made a few mistakes, but to be fair to the boy, he’s accepted them.
“It would have been worse if he was someone who was saying, ‘No, I’ve got nothing to do with this’. He’s trying to improve himself, so for me that’s better that way that it is the other way.”