MICHAEL Beale has apologised to Trai Hume after footage emerged appearing to show the Sunderland head coach snubbing a handshake with the defender when was replaced in the late stages of Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Birmingham City,

Beale insists he didn't see Hume attempt to shake his hand and has felt the need to explain himself on social media, posting to his Instagram story.

He wrote: "Trai Hume is a fantastic player for our club. He gives everything for his teammates and the staff. I wasn't aware that I missed his handshake until being asked about it post game. I immediately went to see him to apologise.

"Trai passed a fitness test this morning to play the game and I cannot hold him in higher regard as a man or professional. He is an example of everything that is good about a young footballer and our team."

Hume was withdrawn in the 87th minute at St Andrew's when Beale introduced striker Hemir as the Black Cats chased an equaliser.

Quizzed on the incident by BBC Radio Newcastle after the game, Beale said: "I didn't see him, to be honest.

"Trai passed a fitness test to play today and he was on a booking, so it was easier to keep Leo on when we made the change. If I've missed him, I'll have to go and see him now and say that to him. Listen, he is probably as close to me as any other player in the squad. There was nothing there between me and him, I honestly didn't see him."

Sunderland dropped to 10th in the Championship table after their second successive defeat and the Black Cats haven't won on their travels since Boxing Day.

Beale said: "Unless we improve our away form it (play-offs) is going to be difficult.

“We have to find a way of getting positive away results because it’s nowhere good enough.

“We’re certainly not giving up on anything with the amount of games we’ve got to go. But our away form all season has been a concern.”