SUNDERLAND 10 YEARS AGO: Nyatanga’s a believer, Keane challenges players

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

I’M A BELIEVER!

Nyatanga sure Cats have what it takes

LOAN STAR Lewin Nyatanga is backing Sunderland to rediscover the away form that left him miserable only a few weeks ago.

The defender was an unused Derby County substitute last month when Roy Keane for off to a winning start at Pride Park in his first game as Sunderland manager.

Nyatanga – who could start at Hull tomorrow – was impressed with the Black Cats’ resilience in a difficult match which saw the Rams take the lead, and he believes that never-say-die attitude could hold the key to the club’s rise up the Championship.

The 18-year-old, who has signed a three-month loan deal with Keane’s men, said: “I was on the bench when Sunderland came to Pride Park and I remember they started the game really well but we got on top in the game and deserved the lead, I think.

But good sides have resilience and belief that they can come back, which is exactly what Sunderland did that day. Once they got in their stride, they looked good.

“All good sides keep going to the final whistle and don’t accept defeat, or even a draw. It was the last ten minutes before we finally got our rewards against Barnsley last week. Everyone here wants to do well and it’s a good squad so I’m sure we can move up the league.”

Nyatanga made his Sunderland debut as a second-half substitute for Kenny Cunningham last weekend. He said: “It was great to get the win and I think we thoroughly deserved it. I was pleased to be part of a winning team for my debut. The gaffer said to me at half-time that he was putting me on and to just go out, do my stuff and enjoy it. He said he wanted me to play with confidence.

“I hadn’t had much time to train with the lads, but they made me feel at home from the first day I arrived so that made it easier for me to slot in against Barnsley.

“The facilities here are brilliant – the training complex and the stadium are unbelievable. My first impressions have been great and hopefully the win against Barnsley is the first of a few while I’m here.”

KEANE WANTS CATS TO MAKE A MOVE

ROY KEANE has challenged his players to put the club back on course for promotion, starting with the game against Hull City tomorrow.

The Sunderland manager has seen enough of his players to know that he has a side capable of putting a winning run together in this league.

And he has asked for the real Sunderland to please stand up for the games ahead.

He said: “You can’t pre-judge what sort of game we’re going to have against Hull. Your guess is as good as mine when it comes to how it might turn out.

“Some would say that Hull got beaten 2-1 off Preston while we got beaten 4-1 off Preston, so maybe Hull should have the edge over us.

“Others would say that we come into this game on the back of a decent result having won last weekend, so we should be favourites. But the truth is you just can’t tell how it’s going to work out – so all we can do is focus on what we’re about.

“We had Hull watched midweek and we’ve got some video footage that we’ll go through with the players. But it all boils down to what we can do on the day and the fact is we need to kick on from here.

We’ve had a couple of bad defeats and then a win last week against Barnsley and we don’t want to follow that with another negative result.

“We need to get a positive result this weekend that we can take into Tuesday’s game against Cardiff City.

“So everything’s there to play for tomorrow.”