SAFC TEN YEARS AGO: Roy Keane ready for first game in charge at SoL

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

ELLIOTT OUT FOR TWO MONTHS: Stephen Elliott is out for up to two months after sustaining ankle ligament damage in the 3-0 win over Leeds on Wednesday night.

That’s the gloomy medical news on an injury it had been hoped on the night would not be so serious.

In the immediate wake of the victory at Elland Road, manager Roy Keane said he hoped that Elliott might only be out for a couple of weeks.

But the Republic of Ireland striker is now ruled out for the next eight weeks – missing up to a dozen games of the campaign – with the injury proving worse than first feared.

Keane said: “It’s nastier than we first thought. We’ve had a look at it on a video replay and you can see he’s gone over on it quite badly.

“The good think is there’s no breakages in there, but it will still take him a while now before he is right again.

Elliott’s injury, and that of fellow striker David Connolly, has underlined the strength in depth the club now has, which is the envy of the vast majority of teams in the Championship.

Robbed of Elliott and Connolly, Sunderland can still call on former Manchester United hero Dwight Yorke while Chris Brown and Daryl Murphy have both shown excellent form in the game each they’ve played under Keane.

The Sunderland manager said: “It’s great that we’ve got competition for places but that’s something I wanted to introduce as soon as I got here.

“It’s what every club need if it wants to be successful and we want to be successful at Sunderland Football Club.

“Injuries and suspensions can play a big part in any seasons and the successful teams are generally the ones that overcome those problems better than the rest.

“It’s disappointing to lose players but it gives others a chance to get into the team.

“And the one thing I’ve enjoyed since I got here is how the players have been working hard to get into the side.”

YORKE SET TO MAKE CATS DEBUT: Dwight Yorke is poised to make his Sunderland debut tomorrow, with boss Roy Keane confirming that the striker is in his squad for the first time.

The former Manchester United star has been flying through training over the last couple of days, and the 35-year-old is likely to start in the Stadium of Light clash against Leicester City.

Keane has kept his team selection so far, close to his chest. But he told the Echo today: “Dwight Yorke is going okay. He’s been training well and I’m sure he will be in the squad for tomorrow’s game.

“We’ve got two strikers out, with the injuries to Stephen Elliott and David Connolly, so Dwight obviously comes into contention.”

Sunderland strikers Daryl Murphy and Chris Brown have both done well in their games under the new boss but are not a natural pairing.

Dean Whitehead is a doubt for tomorrow’s game and Keane says he will not be risked if there is a feeling that he could aggravate any strains.

But fellow midfielder Arnau is now back from a three-game suspension and Grant Leadbitter impressed in that position when he came on in the 3-0 victory over Leeds in midweek.

Tomorrow is Keane’s first home game in charge as manager of Sunderland and he admits he’s very much looking forward to the experience.

He said: “I’ve got a taste of it at the West Brom game when I was in the stands. It’s a great stadium, capable of producing a great atmosphere and I hope tomorrow will be a great occasion for us.

“We got a head of steam up now with three wins in a row but we have to keep it going and although Leicester are below us, those are sometimes the most difficult games and despite how well we’ve done recently Leicester will still leap-frog us if we lose.

“All in all though, tomorrow’s game is something to look forward to.”