SAFC 10 YEARS AGO: Trini-glad, and Clarke wants a chance

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

TRINI-GLAD!

T&T stars double up to give Keane men vital victory

SUNDERLAND kept up the pressure on the play-off places with a hard-fought victory over Coventry City this afternoon.

Goals in either half decided the outcome of the game, Dwight Yorke opening the scoring in the 19th minute and fellow Trinidad and Tobago star Carlos Edwards confirming the three points with a goal in the 84th.

But this was no easy ride for Sunderland as Coventry fought like lions to get something out of the match and Darren Ward was forced to make two crucial saves in the first half to deny first Leon McKenzie and then Mitchell Mifsud.

Yorke’s goal, his second in three games, came after Ross Wallace’s free-kick from the right was clipped back across goal by Stan Varga and Yorke capitalised to head home from five yards out.

Both sides had plenty of chances to get goals in what was an open and physical match.

But the decisive strike came in the 84th when Edwards rifled home a spectacular shot from 35 yards out which took a slight deflection on the way through to wrong-foot keeper Luke Steele.

Sunderland’s win moved them back up two places to seventh – two points adrift of Cardiff in the final play-off position.

TAKE A CHANCE ON ME!

CLIVE CLARKE is desperate to emerge from the shadows, insisting: “I can do the business.”

The left-back endured the worst possible start to his Sunderland career, arriving at the club when he was not fully clear of an injury that required surgery in the summer and aggravating the problem in his second game.

After a season of toil at West Ham – where he played only three times – the Dubliner had hoped a move to Wearside would reignite his career.

But he struggled to make an impression after returning from injury and spent 12 games on loan with Coventry, Sunderland’s opponents at the Stadium of Light today.

Clarke said: “I had not played a lot of football in the last year and it was good to go to Coventry, be involved in most games and get my match fitness back.

“I came back at New Year and got myself onto the bench. I’m fit now and it’s up to the manager whether he picks me. I have played a lot of games at this level when I was at Stoke. I know what it is about and I know what I can do now that I’m fit.

“I just want to play football, hopefully here at Sunderland. Given the chance, I know I can do a good job.

“The manager’s made signings and now it’s a case of showing him what I can do.”

With Keane on the lookout for left-back during the transfer window but ultimately not succeeding, Clarke now has to convince his countryman that he deserves his chance.

Danny Collins appears to be the favoured man in that position and had let no-one down, but Clarke admits he has possibly paid the price for stepping straight into the fray when he first arrived at the club a few weeks after groin surgery.

The 27-year-old said: “The injury was not quite right when I first came at the start of the season, but the manager wanted me to play. I was probably not 100 per cent fit and the groin went again.

“I’ve had that loan at Coventry and it did me good, but I want to stay here now and fight for my place.

“Coventry served its purpose because it got me match fit, but there is no reason for me to go our again unless I’m told different.”