SUNDERLAND 10 YEARS AGO: Black Cats hit by injury crisis, Houghton on the bench for England

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

CATS HIT BY INJURY SETBACKS:

Defenders face lay-offs

ROY KEANE is facing an injury crisis ahead of this weekend’s game against Hull City with defenders Kenny Cunningham and Nyron Nosworthy having picked up injuries and centre-half Steve Caldwell not expected to be ready to help fill the gap.

The full extent of Kenny Cunningham’s knee injury, suffered in last weekend’s 2-0 home win against Barnsley, has now emerged with the experienced centre-back facing up to three months out due to torn medial ligaments.

And Nyron Nosworthy is a major doubt after breaking down with a hamstring strain in training.

The news came as Keane hoped his packed treatment room would finally become less crowded.

Steve Caldwell got through just over an hour of a reserve friendly at Leeds yesterday but neither he, nor fellow returnee Stephen Elliott are expected to be involved this weekend.

Keane said: “I don’t think they’ve got any chance for the weekend.

“I wouldn’t just throw players in straight away after such a long time out.”

The defensive problems will at least offer further opportunities at centre-half alongside Stan Varga, for the likes of Danny Collins, Lewin Nyatanga or Neill Collins to impress.

There are fewer options at Nosworthy’s right-back position, however, with Stephen Wright out until Christmas after ankle surgery and Rory Delap having departed and suffered a bad injury.

If Sunderland stick with a 4-4-2 formation at the KC Stadium on Saturday, someone will have to operate out of position.

That could force Neill Collins back into action at right-back, the position he last filled in the 3-1 defeat at Ipswich last month.

Although this weekend looks too soon for them, Caldwell and Elliott successfully returned yesterday as the reserves beat a youthful Leeds United team 3-0.

Caldwell was withdrawn on 62 minutes, while Elliott went on as a 65th-minute sub for his first run-out since injuring his ankle ligaments in his side’s 3-0 Championship win at Leeds last month.

The Republic of Ireland international striker set up two goals for David Dowson after Toby Hysen had opening the scoring following a goalless first half at Leeds’ Thorp Arch training ground.

STEPH STAYS ON BENCH AS ENGLAND CRASH:

SUNDERLAND Ladies’ Steph Houghton misses out on a first senior England cap last night.

But she will have benefited from the experience of being on the bench for Hope Powell’s World Cup-bound side, which was outgunned 5-1 by Germany in a friendly in Aalen.

Former Sunderland star Jill Scott, now with Everton, came on as a second-half sub for England, who had opened the scoring through Alex Scott before being hit a five-goal blast from the hosts.