SUNDERLAND 10 YEARS AGO: Whitehead a doubt, Stewart linked with Sunderland

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

DEAN DOUBT FOR LUTON CLASH

Nyron already ruled out

ROY KEANE admits he could be struggling to find a recognised right-back for tomorrow’s home game against Luton.

The Black Cats boss was fully aware that he would be without Nyron Nosworthy, who had joined fellow right-back Stephen Wright on the injury list. Nosworthy could also miss next weekend’s trip to Burnley due to a stomach muscle strain.

Keane conceded this morning that Dean Whitehead, who has been filling in in defence, is also struggling to be fit.

He said: “Nyron hasn’t trained all week, won’t train today, and in that context you wouldn’t expect him to play tomorrow. Dean also hasn’t trained all week. He played through last week’s win over Norwich City with a slight hamstring strain and we’ve given him complete rest this week in the hope that that will really help the problem.

“But he has to be regarded as a doubt at this stage and in many respects we are down to the bare bones. We’ve been training with a squad of 13 to 14 players for a lot of this week, so it hasn’t been ideal.

“But if the players show the same resolve and determination they displayed against Norwich last week then we won’t go too far wrong.”

If Whitehead is unavailable, Keane could opt for three at the back if he feels he doesn’t have anyone capable of going in at right-back. Centre-half Stan Varga has returned from a one-match suspension and could slot in alongside Danny Collins and Steve Caldwell at the back.

Either way, Keane will be anxious to extend a five-game unbeaten run which has strengthened Sunderland’s standing in the league.

He said: “Luton have had a bad couple of months but they got a great result last weekend and will be looking to maintain that form tomorrow. Anyone who beats Preston in this league can’t be half bad and by the reports we’ve had they played very well and deserved to win.

“Luton are a team that traditionally like to play football and they’ve been an entertaining side over the years. I’m sure they will come up here hoping to make it a good game. I’d like us to play our part in that.

“Last week’s game against Norwich wasn’t the most entertaining of matches to watch. But the important thing was that we win the game and we’ll be looking to do exactly the same tomorrow.”

STEWART LINKED WITH CATS MOVE

MICHAEL Stewart is the latest Hibs midfielder to be linked with Sunderland.

The Black Cats have already watched rising stars Scott Brown and Kevin Thomson.

But now Stewart’s agent Clive Hart claims the Black Cats want to bring the 16-year-old south of the border.

Hart said: “Sunderland are just one of a number of top Championship clubs who have been impressed with Michael’s rapid development this season.

“While he’s not in any hurry to leave his beloved Edinburgh, there will certainly be some interesting options on the table for him if he wants to deal with unfinished business in England.”

Edinburgh-born Stewart started his career at Manchester United but made only seven Premiership appearances in six years at Old Trafford, during which time he has loans with Royal Antwerp, Nottingham Forest and Hearts.

He joined Hibs on a Bosman free transfer in June last year and has made 41 SPL appearances, scoring twice.

BIG FUTURE PREDICTED FOR BOXING TWINS

TWINS Pat and Luke McCormack are double trouble for opponents.

And Washington Amateur Boxing Club coach Terry Degnan predicts an exciting future for the pair.

Degnan says he has “waited a lifetime” for just one boxer with talent that both of the 11-year-olds have at such a young age.

And he reckons their toughest bouts in the future could be if the Teal Farm Estate identical twins are ever drawn to fight each other!

Degnan said: “I have waited a lifetime for these two boys to walk through my door.

“I have never seen anything like them and I’ll be stunned if they don’t win a load of titles between them if they continue to work so hard.

“Because they’re the same age and same weight, there’s every chance they could be drawn to box each other in the future. It would be a very unusual thing, but I don’t think they’d have a problem with it.

“They spar together and tear into each other. I have to peel them apart to stop them!”

Pat won his debut fight recently and Luke was an equally convincing victor when he made his ring bow a few days later, only to be robbed of the triumph on a technicality.

“It was my fault,” admitted a regretful Degnan. “The rules now state that all boxers have to have their hands bandaged. Previously the rule covered boxers aged 15 up/

“Luke was disqualified because he had no bandages and all I could do was apologise. It won’t happen again and he’ll have plenty more wins, I’m sure.

“I think the word’s out about these boys, though, because I’m finding it hard to get them bouts already.

The McCormacks are from boxing stock. Grandad Derek used to coach at Washington with Degnan, dad Martin competed for Lambton Street and Washington and uncle Derek had five wins in five amateur bouts.

Degnan’s only problem with the lads is telling them apart. “They are identical and I’m forever calling them by the wrong names,” he said.

Perhaps it won’t be long before the McCormacks are really making names for themselves.