SUNDERLAND 10 YEARS AGO: Keane's team taking shape, Connolly ready for Sunderland challenge

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

Wednesday, 7th September 2016, 10:00 am



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Cats boss ready to make first selection

ROY KEANE says his first Sunderland team is beginning to take shape.

Keane has only one day left to ready his squad for his managerial debut at Derby on Saturday.

And while he brought in six new faces on transfer deadline day a week ago, he says he has been impressed with a lot of what he has seen in training.

Keane said: “It is early days and I’m going to be fair to everyone. Each player has done brilliantly since we arrived and listened to new ideas from Tony (Loughlan) and the other coaching staff.

“Day to day we’re seeing different things from different players. Hopefully the new lads will help the others.

“You begin to get a team shape in your head and today and Friday the team (for Derby) will take shape.”

Keane senses a renewed optimism on Wearside, which believes started before he was confirmed as manager shortly after Sunderland’s 2-0 home win over West Brom last time out.

He said: “I am feeling the buzz here, not just among fans but the people working here. It has been a disappointing period for the club but hopefully that’s over. We should not underestimate the positive effect of the win last week. We can bring new faces and everything like that but winning football matches changes things at a club.”


DAVID Connolly believes he has stepped “out of the comfort zone” by joining Roy Keane’s Sunderland, writes Ian Lawes.

The Republic of Ireland striker stands by for his Black Cats debut at Derby on Saturday after becoming Keane’s most expensive deadline day signing last week at an initial £1.4million, rising by a further £500,000 depending in appearances and promotion.

After a positive pre-season with Wigan, Connolly had been assured of getting more opportunities in the Premiership. But he chose to join the Keane era and a Sunderland side that had lost five of its six games this season.

The 29-year-old said: “Even though I might be playing Premiership football now, I thought the time was right for me to move.

“Sunderland had been in for me a couple of times in the past and it hasn’t quite happened. I had a good pre-season with Wigan and a got a couple of goals and the manager (Paul Jewell) said I would be closer to challenging for a place.

“But the new challenge of stepping out of the comfort zone, coming to a massive club and with Roy as manager, it made this an easy decision.