Here’s what the Echo was reporting on SAFC 10 years ago.
ROSS: I MUST DO BETTER!:
ROSS WALLACE says his performances must get better.
The winger has had to wait for opportunities from the bench in Sunderland’s last two games and is eager to rediscover his dangerous form.
But he is determined to turn his absence from Roy Keane’s starting 11 into a positive.
The tricky Scot said: “We all know that we’re not guaranteed a place in the team and the gaffer’s selections keep us all on our toes.
“I have been a bit disappointed in my performances and I know that I have to improve. I don’t think I have played as well as I can and I have to show the manager that I should get a place in the team.
“We have a lot of quality in the squad and the competition is fierce. We’ve just for Graham Kavanagh back from injury, Wrighty (Stephen Wright) will hopefully be back soon and that just makes it even harder.
“But we’ve found some consistency as a squad in the last couple of months and that’s what I’ll be looking for from my performances. I need to get back to creating and scoring goals.”
Wallace picked up a bug over Christmas and was left on the bench against Leeds on Boxing Day before going on as a sub just before the hour.
With the Black Cats facing two games in three days – at home to Preston on Saturday and then away to Leicester on Monday (New Year’s Day) – Keane may again look to keep his side fresh by shuffling the pack.
Wallace said: “Performance-wise, I think we can improve as a team. But if we keep playing for each other as we are, and show the same fighting spirit, then I think the performances will come.
“Leeds and Preston are big Christmas games for us. I played in the defeat at Preston earlier this season and memories like that hurt you as a player.
“Hopefully I’ll get a chance to play my part in us getting a bit of revenge, but the main thing is to keep picking up points to keep us in with a shout of promotion.”
MILLER FREE TO FACE HIS BLACK CATS PALS:
TOMMY Miller will be allowed to play against Sunderland this weekend, as Roy Keane continues his policy of allowing his loaned players to face their long-term employers.
Miller is on loan at Preston North End, who come to the Stadium of Light this Saturday.
And while many clubs have clauses inserted in loan deals insisting they don’t face the club they’ve come from, Keane has been happy to let them face the Black Cats.
Rory Delap was allowed to play against Sunderland when the Wearsiders faced Stoke City earlier in the season.
And Neill Collins, who was on the bench for Wolves in the game at Molineux, last month could have come on against the Wearsiders had Mick McCarthy desired.
Miller has made five appearances for Preston and two starts since joining the Lilywhites in November.
And Preston boss Paul Simpson – looking for a boost after Tuesday’s 4-2 reserve at West Brom – has signalled his intent to play the midfielder this weekend.
He said: “As part of the loan deal, we didn’t talk about him not being available for the Sunderland game, so, as fas as I am aware, he is available for us and hopefully he can perform like he did at West Brom in our last game.
“I thought he did really well on Boxing Day. He added a bit of shape to the side, showed good energy and he passed the ball very well – I though it was the strongest game he has had for us.
Miller cam on as an early substitute against West Brom and with North End nursing one or two bumps and bruises his availability will be a big boost to the squad.
Even if the midfielder does not get any action against either Sunderland on Saturday or Derby on New Year’s Day, Simpson has indicated that he might want to extend Miller’s loan spell at Deepdale.
He said: “Over the nest two games we are going to be calling on most of the squad to play a part for us.”
“Hopefully with the injuries we have got we can get everyone fit from the West Brom fixture but we’ll have to wait and see when Saturday comes around.
“I’d like to extend Tommy’s deal, but I need to speak to Sunderland regarding that.
“Things are so buy at the moment with the games that we have had over the Christmas period that we haven’t actually sat down but hopefully when I am there I might get a chance to speak to them about extending it.”