SUNDERLAND 10 YEARS AGO: Murphy on a high, Rowell wants loan men back

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

THE ONLY WAY IS UP:

Eager Murphy determined to build on good form

DARYL MURPHY believes things can only get better after a six-game unbeaten run which has taken Sunderland to the fringes of play-off contention.

The in-form Irish striker reckons that the recent run of results more accurately reflects the potential of the squad than the disastrous start to the current campaign.

And, far from seeing the good run as a bonus, he reckons this is the shape of things to come with the club only getting stronger in the months ahead.

He told the Echo: “We want to be in the top half of the table from now on and I think if we have a bit of luck and results continue to go for us we could start convincing people that we’re going to do well this season.

“We didn’t get off to the best of starts in the league and that knocked us back again both in terms of confidence and league position. But we’re getting more confident with each game, getting to know each other better and starting to show that we’re not a bad side.

“We will only improve as a team in my opinion and hopefully we’ll show that in the games ahead.”

Murphy has been an important part of the Black Cats’ recent revival with three goals in three games, showing a willingness to play the role of lone striker in a 4-5-1 formation.

And the 23-year-old says he does not mind having to take stick either from big centre-halves or from Sunderland fans during games if the system works for the good of the team.

When long balls are pumped forward by his team-mates, Murphy has the job of chasing what are often lost causes. And as a result, it is often the striker who takes the flak.

Murphy shrugged that off, though. “I don’t mind playing as a lone striker if it’s successful for the side,” he said.

“It’s a great formation if you get it right and if we can get Ross Wallace and Stephen Elliott bombing on down the wings, then it can actually be a very attacking system

“As for the fans here, they are incredibly passionate, they have high standards and because of that they’ll get frustrated but I understand that. You learn to deal with it as a player.”

Murphy is hoping to maintain his recent good showing and admits that the faith his manager has shown in him has given him a big boost.

He revealed: “I’ve talked to the gaffer and he’s given me confidence. He’s said a few nice things and I took what he said as a compliment. But I’m not going to sit back now and think I can stroll through it now.

“I’ve got to show what I can do and do it on a regular basis because the gaffer has said he wants consistency from me – and if I do that, I’ll do all right.”

GARY ROWELL: SHOULD WE REALLY BE HELPING OUR RIVALS?

IT MAKES me smile a little when I hear about Sunderland being down to the bare bones.

Whose fault is that? We’ve got 10 players out on loan!

But most of those loan spells are coming to an end in January and one of the things that I would love to see the club do is recalling Jon Stead from Derby County and Liam Lawrence from Stoke City.

Maybe Tommy Miller from Preston North End as well.

Because these players are at clubs who are our rivals for promotion and I don’t see why we should help them out!

Over the last six games, only two teams have better form in the Championship than Sunderland – Stoke City and Derby County.

And even of the manager doesn’t rate the players he has sent on loan, I still think it’s a legitimate tactic to recall them, even if they spend most of the rest of the season in the reserves or on the bench.

Stead has become an important player at Derby County and Lawrence is threatening to do the same at Stoke City. Recalling them will not weaken Sunderland’s squad but it would certainly weaken the opposition’s.