SUNDERLAND 10 YEARS AGO: Delap: No hard feelings, Keane wants successful formula

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

NO HARD FEELINGS:

Rory bears no grudges against Roy

RORY DELAP insists he has nothing against Roy Keane in the wake of the Sunderland manager’s decision to allow him to leave Wearside.

 Delap joined Stoke City on extended loan last week with a view to a permanent deal and tonight comes up against his former employers when Sunderland make the trip to the Potters’ Britannia Stadium.

 But the utility man, who played on the right wing for Stoke in their 4-0 win at the weekend says his efforts tonight will not be fuelled by any grudge against Keane.

 Instead, he has thanked the Black Cats boss for having the decency to let him go so swiftly.

 He said: “Managers come in and they can prefer different players. That’s the way it happens in football and I haven’t got a bad word to say about him because he was honest with me about the situation when he could have dragged it on by saying I was part of his plans.

 “But after the first game he said I wasn’t in this plans at the moment and it was up to me if I stayed or looked for another club.

 “And then when Stoke came in, he didn’t stand in my way.

 “It just didn’t happen for me at Sunderland, regardless of whoever is to blame for that, it’s over now and I’m just concentrating on Stoke City.

 “It’s always a big game to make your home debut and hopefully I can put a good performance in. You never want to be beaten by your old team-mates and your old club – you want to prove a point, that you’ve moved on and settled down at a new club – and that’s what I’ll be looking to do this evening.”

 Delap made his debut on the right of midfield in Saturday’s 4-0 romp over Leeds, and that puts him in line for a nose-to-nose confrontation with former Stoke skipper Clive Clarke at left-back for Sunderland.

 He said: “I’ve spoken to Clive in the past and he’s told me when you are playing well and doing well at Stoke, they can fill the ground. I’m not the nutmegging type, but if I am playing against him, then hopefully I can come out on top!

NUGGSY AND CO SPOIL ROY’S DINNER DATE:

ROY KEANE is hoping to find a successful formula – and so is his wife.

 Theresa Keane might have been expecting to be the centre of attention at the dinner table after Sunderland’s 4-1 loss at Preston on Saturday, but the Black Cats at Preston on Saturday, but the Black Cats boss admits his thoughts were more about his troubled back four!

 “I took my wife out on Saturday night, but she knew I wasn’t even there,” explained the former Manchester United legend.

 “It was a nice restaurant as well, and she’d made the effort but all I was thinking about was our back four.

 “All I was thinking about was Nyron Nosworthy, Stan Varga, Clive Clarke and Danny Collins, so it was like taking the four of them out as well.

 “I didn’t really eat much and I was really bad company. But I was like that as a player and she knows and understands that.

 “It’s a hundred times worse losing as a manager than as a player, and I took defeat badly as a player. You feel a lot more responsible.”

 Keane has pointed out the obvious to his players – cut out the soft goals away from home or face a long, hard season of struggle.

 Sunderland have leaked seven goals in their last two road trips – the 4-1 defeat at Present and the 3-1 reverse at Ipswich – and all seven goals could be put down to poor defending.

 And while Keane still believes that his squad, currently lying 17th in the Championship, are capable of top six finish, he admits they will have to improve rapidly.

He said: “We know what went wrong on Saturday. It was poor defending. Very, very poor defending. I think Preston had four shots on target and scored four goals.

 “And while I’m sure Preston will be happy with those stats, we’re not. It’s very disappointing to suffer another away defeat like that and it needs to be stopped now.

 I watched the Preston goals again on Sunday and all of them could have been prevented.