SUNDERLAND 10 YEARS AGO: Keane’s fight for Bardsley, Kavanagh out for 10 weeks

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

KEANE FACES FIGHT FOR BARDSLEY:

ROY KEANE is sweating on the signing of Manchester United’s right-back Phil Bardsley.

 The Sunderland boss has a bid in for the talented young defender but admits he is still in the dark as to whether the player will end up at the Stadium of Light.

 He said: “I’ve spoken to Phil and have put together what we consider to be a very good offer. Hopefully he’ll consider it and decide he wants to come here.

 “But I know there was a Premiership club interested in him and he wanted to think things over before making a final decision. If he does decide to go elsewhere then I’ve got no problem with that – obviously a Premiership club could be a more attractive option.

 “I haven’t heard back from him this week and that might not be a good sign, but nothing is decided yet one way or the other, so we wait and see.”

 Keane already has Carlos Edwards and Jonny Evans as new recruits going into Saturday’s FA Cup tie at Preston.

 Luton right winger Edwards agreed a £1.5m deal with the Black Cats earlier this week while Evans, although yet to complete his move, trained with the Black Cats today.

 Keane said: “I’m delighted to have Carlos on board. I think he’s going to give us another dimension and strengthen us on the right wing where we’ve lacked a player whose natural position that is.

 “Jonny travelled up with me last night and I am thrilled that he really wants to come here and can’t wait to get started. There’s one last form he needs to sign and I think his agent is bringing that up today. But the move is agreed and both he and Carlos will go into the squad for Saturday.”

 Keane admits it has been hard work since the transfer window re-opened. But he is not looking to progress with several players he has been linked with in other newspapers today.

 Of a rumoured £1.5m bid for Liverpool left-back Stephen Warnock, he said: “He’s a good player but he’s just coming back from injury, so I can’t imagine anything being done there.”

 There has also been talk of Stephen Pearson at Celtic and Barnsley’s Brian Howard, but Keane said: “I’ve got no interest in either at the moment.”

 The Sunderland manager does, however, hope to add one or two more new players. He said: “We’re still looking and I’d like to get them in sooner rather than later. We’re making progress and I’m quite hopeful.”

BOSS READY TO SIGN UP LEWIN:

ROY KEANE is looking to open talks to extend Lewin Nyatanga’s stay on Wearside.

 The Sunderland boss was impressed by the young Welsh international’s first display in his preferred centre-half position during the victory over Leicester City on New Year’s Day.

 And although the teenager – who played every other game during his loan spell at left-back – has gone back to Derby County, he could be back on Wearside in the next few days.

 Keane said: We do have an interest in Lewin, He did very well for us during his time here and I’m on a bit of a guilt trip at the moment that he only got the one game at centre-half.

 “We have asked players to play out of position at times and that situation certainly applied with Lewin. But I think he did a great job for us under the circumstances.

 “It’s not easy for a youngster to come to a big club like this, where expectations are high and the crowd are demanding, and perform to your very best – especially when you are not playing in the position you feel most comfortable in.

 “Lewin played centre-half against Leicester – he finally got his chance there – and he looked good.”

 Any deal is likely to include Jon Stead going in the opposite direction.

 The striker has returned from Pride Park with a minor injury. But Derby boss Billy David has said that would like to take Stead on permanently.

HUGE BLOW AS KAV’S OUT FOR 10 WEEKS:

GRAHAM Kavanagh is set to miss the next TEN weeks of the season after being forced to undergo a second knee operation.

 The Sunderland midfield playmaker has undergone surgery on his knee joints after aggravating the injury he had an operation on two months ago.

 Today’s news is a blow for manager Roy Keane’s season in which Kavanagh was proving to be an extremely influential player.

 He said today: “It’s disappointing, but it had to be done and hopefully Graham will learn from the experience.

 “I think he pushed himself too far too soon and as a result he needed an operation on the knee joint following on from the operation he had on his knee ligament a while back.”

 With Kavanagh scheduled to be out for up to ten weeks it means he won’t be back to help Sunderland’s bid for promotion until mid-March at the earliest.

 But with Sunderland understandably anxious not to rush the 32-year-old back too soon, it could be April before we see the Republic of Ireland international back in Sunderland’s colours.

 The former Middlesbrough, Stoke, Cardiff and Wigan playmaker’s coolness under pressure, intelligent passing and determined tackling benefited Sunderland in the games that he has played since joining from the Latics in late August.

 Keane was hoping to have him in full swing by now.

 But despite Kavanagh’s return from injury early last month, he suffered reactions to games, having to have fluid drained from the knee regularly.

 Kavanagh’s absence is just the latest in a string of injury problems to beset Sunderland.

 Skipper Steve Caldwell will miss the weekend’s trip to Preston after being injured in the previous game against the Lilywhites last Saturday.

 Caldwell has a hamstring strain – the same injury which has also left fellow centre-half Danny Collins on the sidelines.

 Nyron Nosworthy also went down with a hamstring injury after the league defeat to Preston in the final game of 2006 and could be out for several weeks.

 The positive news for Sunderland on the injury front though is that veteran centre-back Kenny Cunningham (knee) and ex-Liverpool right-back Stephen Wright (ankle) are both easing their way back into full training.