SUNDERLAND 10 YEARS AGO: Chase on for Capaldi, classy Carlos

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

CATS LEAD RACE FOR CAPALDI

Sunderland are in a five-way chase for the signature of Plymouth left-back Tony Capaldi.

The player has been told to sign a new contract this week or he will be forced to move on.

Last night, Pilgrims boss Ian Holloway upped the pressure on the Northern Ireland international to make an immediate decision over his future by saying he would be allowed to leave for nothing in the summer.

The 26-year-old is out of contract in June and both the player and his agent have considered the lucrative prospect of moving on without a fee. But Holloway said that with Sunderland leading a host of Championship clubs for his signature, the player would have to decide one way or another what his future would be before the end of the January transfer window.

The Argyle boss, who left the unsettled Capaldi out of side in the 3-2 win over Conventry City last night, said: “I don’t know if Sunderland or anybody else wants him. I have made him the best offer I can and I don’t think it’s anything like what some of the clubs might offer him.

“But if he thinks he can wait until the summer like his agent might want him to, then he has not another thing coming and a rude awakening,”

Holloway went on to torture a metaphor by way of explanation: “Tony is a great bloke and I don’t want to lose him. I’ve been polishing that car (Tony) since I have been here and, unfortunately, I did not buy it off the forecourt straight away.

“In other words, he was out of contract and there was only a certain amount of money left in the budget and I decided to give it to Chuck (David Norris), who won everything last year, so it made sense to me.

“If I had been manager at Plymouth last year, there is no way I would have let David Norris or Tony Capaldi run out of contract, but I have inherited the situation and I am trying to make the best of it.

“I have got ten days to sort it out. I am not going to polish a car and let someone rip it off my drive in the summer for nothing because I think that is bad business.

“Someone is going to have to buy it off me and I might have to push it off my drive if it does not want to go. Either he revs it and drives it into my garage, or I push it off my drive.

“I don’t know what is going to happen. I have spoken to the managers concerned and told them what I would accept for that fella, and will have to wait and see.”

Capaldi is one of several full-backs Roy Keane has been looking at, including Colchester’s Greg Halford and Liverpool’s Stephen Warnock.

Warnock yesterday signed for Blackburn in a £1.5m deal and that leaves Sunderland free to focus their interest on Capaldi.

GARY ROWELL WRITES: CLASSY CARLOS

For about 10 minutes on Saturday, Sunderland were sixth in the Championship.

Then they started shipping goals and Cardiff City got a late winner to go above the Black Cats on goal difference.

Had it been the last game of the season, Sunderland would have missed out on the play-offs because of that result. So I guess in that context you can see where Roy Keane was coming from.

But Keane’s men are the form team in the Championship at the moment and if they beat Crystal Palace a week today they’ll have taken 12 points out of 12 in the league during January.

If that happens, what price Roy Keane for his first ever manager of the month award, despite the cup exit at Preston North End?

I can understand Roy Keane having a go at his players for letting Sheffield Wednesday off the hook.

But that didn’t detract from the fact that this was still a great result away from home.

We got four goals and outclassed Wednesday on their own turf for the better part of 80 minutes.

I thought it was as good as we’d played this season and we were well worth the three points.

It was a good team performance but the player who stood out for me was Carlos Edwards.

Jonny Evans and Anthony Stokes have grabbed the lion’s share of the headlines this month, arriving, as they did from Manchester United and Arsenal.

But the influence of the Luton Town winger should not be under-estimated.

Having a genuine right winger adds a balance to the side which was lacking previously and his pace and directness really stretches opponents in a way we haven’t seen from Sunderland so far this season.

May I also just offer a word of encouragement to Stephen Elliott.

I thought he had a terrific game at the weekend and did everything but score.