SUNDERLAND 10 YEARS AGO: Stern John signs, Simpson awaits debut

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

STERN SIGNS UP

SUNDERLAND will today sign Coventry City striker Stern John as manager Roy Keane looks to add presence and power to his front line.

The player was on Wearside this morning after both clubs agreed an undisclosed fee.

And pending the striker passing a medical, he was expected to sign a long term contract with the possibility of being able to make his debut in the game against Crystal Palace at the Stadium of Light tomorrow night.

Keane said today: “We’ve lacked a bit of physical presence, especially since the departure of Chris Brown to Norwich City.

“And Stern John would give us that extra option again.

“He’s a big, strong, powerful guy and while you don’t want to say too much before a deal is done and dusted, I think he’s a player who will be a real benefit to the squad.”

Neither Stephen Elliott nor David Connolly have great height while Anthony Stokes and Daryl Murphy do not regard themselves as target men – a role 6ft 1in Stern John is comfortable in.

The Trinidad and Tobago striker, who will join international colleagues Dwight Yorke and Carlos Edwards at the Stadium of Light, has been in and out of favour at the Ricoh Arena this season.

And, ironically, it was the arrival of Sunderland’s Kevin Kyle earlier in the season, which placed the powerful forward’s position in doubt.

Stern has played in 93 internationals and has 65 goals to his credit.

DANNY FACES WAIT FOR DEBUT

NEW signing Danny Simpson looks like having to wait to make his Sunderland debut with newly-appointed captain Dean Whitehead penned in to continue in his right-back role against Crystal Palace tomorrow.

Sunderland clinched the loan signing of Manchester United full-back Simpson last week, the deal ending a long search by Roy Keane to strengthen that position.

But the manager said today: “I don’t know whether the Crystal Palace game will have come too soon for Danny.

“He hasn’t played a great deal of football recently and we have to bear in mind that Dean has done so well in that position.

“Danny has only just begun training with us and I think it will be a case of just waiting to see how he comes along in training.

“Dean has done exceptionally well there and while the intention to signing Danny is to allow Dean to get back to central midfield, we might just have to ask Dean to continue as right-back for a little while longer.

Keane goes into tomorrow’s Stadium of Light clash boosted by the news that striker Anthony Stokes is fit to play again.

The Irish teenager missed out on last week’s game against Sheffield Wednesday with a slight groin strain. But he trained on Saturday and will come into contention for tomorrow’s game.

There are, though, doubts over centre-back Jonny Evans and striker Daryl Murphy, who both picked up slight knocks in training.

Keane said: “We’ll just have to wait and see how Jonny Daryl go on, but we’re hopeful that they’ll be OK. They picked up knocks in training, but that’s part and parcel of the game.

“It’s important to have a competitive edge in training and you have to accept that you’ll get knocks from time to time as a result. It’s disappointing, but hopefully both lads will be there or thereabouts for tomorrow.”