Sunderland 10 years ago: Roy Keane thinking big

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

ROY THINKS BIG

Keane pledges to thrill fans with summer transfers

ROY Keane is set to thrill fans with his summer recruitment.

The Sunderland manager will meet the club’s money men to lay out that it must now be “all or nothing” as the Black Cats move into the Premiership next season.

Preston North End star striker David Nugent was the latest name to be linked with a move to Wearside today.

Keane expects the summer to be rife with speculation and, while he will not comment on individuals, he promised fans that he will do everything to make the club a top flight force.

Keane said: “We have had players in our mind to look at if we were to go up.

“I have spoken to (chief executive) Peter Walker and we have discussed a few things. I really want to get the ball rolling in terms of trying to strengthening the squad.

“I don’t really know what type of monies I have got available. I have to speak to Peter and Niall next week.

“We have players in our mind that, if we can get them, we will be excited about it.

“There’s no holding back now – it has to be all or nothing.”

Nugent is expected to move into the Premiership this summer with Everton also said to be in the frame for the Preston top scorer’s signature.

But Keane today raised an eyebrow when the England international’s name was put to him and knows that this summer’s newspapers will be full of similar stories.

“The number of players we have been linked with over the last few months has been ridiculous,” he said.

“It will be interesting to see how many more names come up. If you keep putting names in eventually you might get one right.”

Keane said that transfer windows and the fact that top leagues on the Continent are still playing means that it may take a few weeks to begin the recruitment drive but he wants his plans in place.

He added: “One or two players still have games to play but I need to know first of all what kind of money I’ll have with wages before I can start negotiating and speaking with clubs.”

DANNY: THIS TIME WE KNOW IT’S FOR REAL

DANNY COLLINS says newly-promoted Sunderland will not be the Premiership pushovers this time around, that they were last time they were in the top flight.

It was little more than a year ago that the Black Cats were relegated with a record-low points total – only 15 points in 38 games – after just one season back in the top flight.

But the Wearsiders under Niall Quinn and Roy Keane have bounced back at the first attempt, clinching automatic promotion at the weekend thanks to Derby County’s failure to overcome Crystal Palace.

And Collins, who experienced the joy of promotion two years ago and the pain of relegation last season, believes the club is now in better shape to deal with the set-up than in 2005.

The Welsh international defender said: “I think we’ll be in a different position in the Premiership this time round.

“There’s a lot more belief this time.

“What with the takeover and having more money to spend, Roy Keane coming in and the new players he has brought, it has given the club the lift it needed.

“There are several of us who are still here that were promoted two years ago and we will do everything we can to make sure things are different this time.

“Obviously, what happened last season was a big disappointment but we have put it behind us and we’re moving on from that.”

Sunderland go to Luton on Sunday for the final match of the season safe in the knowledge that they are promoted.

But there is still the Championship title at stake, with the Black Cats – and Birmingham, who must go to play-off chasing Preston on Sunday – fighting it out for the honour of finishing in top spot.

Collins said: “It’s nice to be going to Luton without the pressure of needing a win to get promoted.

“But we don’t want to go there and finish the season with anything less than a victory.

“We want to win and hopefully pip Birmingham to the title – maybe the fact that Preston need to beat Birmingham on Sunday to get into the play-offs will help us do that, too.

“But all we can do is look after ourselves and make sure that we win.”

Collins, whose natural position is centre-back, has spent most of this season playing at left-back and he has proved that he is more than capable of performing in that new role

He said: “I’ve played some of my best football since I have been switched out to left-back and I’m really pleased that the gaffer has given me a chance to show what I can do.”