SUNDERLAND TEN YEARS AGO: Leadbitter sees off Sheffield Wednesday

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

GRANT AID!

A Grant Leadbitter goal decided a tight, tense and exciting game at the Stadium of Light this afternoon.

The recalled midfielder’s 58th minute strike put the Roy Keane bandwagon back on course after the disappointment of a defeat and a draw in their last two games.

Sheffield Wednesday arrived on Wearside on the back of some poor form but could not be faulted for their commitment and they worked hard to contain the home side for the first hour.

Sunderland were clearly the better side, though, and created a host of chances in the first half which they just could not finish.

The defining moment of the game came in the 58th minute when Nyron Nosworthy’s ball up the touchline found Liam Lawrence and the right-winger whipped in a first time cross for Leadbitter, who times his run into the box to perfection and side-footed home from eight yards out.

Earlier, Dean Whitehead had rattled the post with a long range shot as Sunderland dominated.

But, after Leadbitter’s goal, Wednesday committed everything forward producing an exciting finale but unable to break down a determined Sunderland defence and their defeat pushed down to bottom spot in the table.

BATTLING BACK

Steve Caldwell is on the comeback trail – but refuses to name a date for his return to action for fear of jinxing himself.

The Sunderland skipper has been sidelined for the last six weeks with a knee ligament injury suffered in the Black Cats’ home defeat against Birmingham, the first home game of the season.

He is expected to be ruled out for a few more weeks yet but his knee is on the mend and he has begun running again.

He said: “My knee is much better now and it has improved a lot in the last 10 days or so, I’m starting to run at pace and at half-pace, and gradually getting back to kicking the ball.

“I’m getting there, but I don’t want to put a date on it because I don’t want there to be a feeling of disappointment if I miss that date.

“I’m obviously hoping that I can be ready in the next few weeks though, although it is hard to tell at this stage how quickly it is going to respond.”

Caldwell’s injury has meant he is yet to play under Roy Keane, and he is frustrated that he has not yet had the chance to show the new boss what he can do.

But he is already a big admirer of the commitment the new man brings.

He said: “I spoke briefly to the manager about my injury but he has enough to think of at the moment with the players who are playing, never mind those who are not.