SAFC 10 YEARS AGO: Edwards wants run to go on, Keane waits on Simpson

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Here’s what the Echo was reporting on SAFC 10 years ago.

KEEP ON RUNNING!

Roadrunner Edwards determined to maintain unbeaten sequence

PROMOTION-CHASING Sunderland are determined to end the season undefeated in 2007.

Championship leaders Derby are tomorrow’s visitors to the Stadium of Light, but face a tough task against a Black Cats side that has not lost a league game since the turn of the year.

And flying winger Carlos Edwards – nicknamed Roadrunner by his team-mates – says it’s crucial to maintain that record if automatic promotion is to be achieved.

The Black Cats are fifth in the Championship, six points behind top dogs Derby, who lost 2-0 at home to Stoke City on Wednesday.

Edwards said: “That was a good result for Stoke – and for us, too!

“We have to get on with the job tomorrow. We were unlucky to only draw at Birmingham on Tuesday. But life goes one and football goes on. We are still in a good position to get automatic promotion.

“It’s not over yet and we’ll keep going right up to the final whistle in the final game of the season. We’ve been pushing for so long to get into the play-off places and now we are there, but want more.

“We are in a position where we can go for automatic promotion and we are in the in-form team at the moment.

“We’re unbeaten in 2007 in the league and hopefully we can continue that record right up to the end of the season.”

Bustling Rams striker Steve Howard stands between Sunderland and a fifth clean sheet in six games. And he’s a man Edwards knows well from their time together at Luton Town.

The winger said: “I know Stevie really well from the year-and-a-half I spent at Luton. He’s a good striker – strong and powerful. We’ll be friends off the field tomorrow but for 90 minutes we’ll be enemies.

“He’s scored a lot of important goals for Derby this season and our defence will have to be on its toes against him.”

Edward’s goal record has been excellent this season from midfield, his strike against Birmingham being his ninth of the season. But he’s looking to bring more out of himself in the remaining games.

The 28-year-old added: “I’ve been pleased with my form recently, but I know I can still do a bit better. We’ve put in some good team performances recently and I hope that the manager has been happy with my contribution.

“The lads have given me the nickname ‘Roadrunner!’ I’m happy with that and it’s great to have your team-mates encouraging you to carry on doing what you’re doing.”

KEANE MUST WAIT ON SIMPSON’S FITNESS

SUNDERLAND are sweating on the fitness of right-back Danny Simpson ahead of tomorrow’s game against league leaders Derby County.

The Manchester United loan man limped out of Tuesday’s game against Birmingham City with an ankle injury. And today he remains a doubt for the weekend.

Manager Roy Keane said: “I have to say that Danny is no more than 50-50 for Saturday’s game.

“We’ve given him rest and he’s till got a chance, but it is a question of waiting to see how he comes through today. He’s a fit young lad, but we have to wait and see.”

Normally, if Simpson were to fail a late fitness test, then the manager would turn to skipper Dean Whitehead to fill in, in that position. But the captain is suspended for this week’s game to give Keane a bit of a headache.

He said: “It’s a blow losing Dean because he would have been the obvious choice there, so it does give us something to think about. But we have options and we will just have to wait and see what situation faces us tomorrow.”

If Simpson is unavailable, the manager’s most likely option is to return Nyron Nosworthy to his preferred right-back position and bring in either Stan Varga or Kenny Cunningham to take over in central defence.

Alternatively, if Nosworthy goes right-back he could move Danny Collins to centre-half and bring in Ross Wallace at left back.

Elsewhere, the manager has a clean bill of health and a full squad to choose from for one of the key games of the season.