Here’s what the Echo was reporting on SAFC 10 years ago today.
Captain fired up for double home boost
Fit-again Steve Caldwell is hoping to inject fresh life into Sunderland’s faltering season.
The skipper returned to the starting line-up for only the third time this season at Norwich last weekend, having recovered from a knee ligament injury picked up in the opening week of the season.
And he wants to make up for lost time by inspiring his side to good displays in the forthcoming home games against Southampton and Colchester United on successive Saturdays.
Caldwell told the Echo: “I’ve had no reaction from the weekend’s game at Norwich and I’m raring to get going again.
“Our next two home games are going to be tough ones for us – Southampton are always a hard side to beat and Colchester have probably been the surprise side of the season in the way that they’ve hit the ground running after being promoted.
“But our home form has been generally very good since Roy Keane’s arrival and it will be crucial in how well we do this season. I’m looking forward to the games and, if we can do well in them, it puts us back on track.
“Our last performance was actually a good one, even though we lost, and with a bit of extra quality this weekend in the final third, we’ll do all right if we can produce the sort of domination we’ve produced against Norwich.
“When you put in 30 crosses in a game and the opposition puts in something like three and when you have something like ten shots at goal compared to one from the opposition you don’t normally expect to lose a game.
“Sometimes, though, you just get a game like that where you outplay them but lose or they outplay you and you somehow get a win – that’s football.
“We just have to put it behind us and get on with the next one and, as far as I’m concerned, it’s already forgotten and I’m looking to the future.”
The Sunderland captain is realistic. He does not suggest for a second that it will be easy for the Wearsiders to climb the table, having lost ground on so many teams in the last few weeks.
But he thinks Sunderland’s season is far from over if he can add some consistency to their campaign.
He said: “I’m not one for looking ahead, but I know there’s still a long way to do.
“If we can do well in these home games then that gives us a platform to build on.
“We’ve got players coming back from injury like myself, Graham Kavanagh and Stephen Elliott and I think we have the squad here that’s capable of dominating teams in this division of it finds its stride.”
DON’T GET SO SHIRTY, PLEADS WALLACE
Regretful Ross Wallace will stay fully-clothed if he scores again for Sunderland, but believes officials shouldn’t have to be so shirty about players getting their kit off.
The Black Cats’ winger is available again after serving a two-match ban after his red card at Hull last month, a dismissal caused when he ripped off his shirt to celebrate his last-gasp winner.
Rules are rules and the former Celtic star accepts he can’t make the same mistake for a third time, but doesn’t see why players do get booked for such joyous moments.
Wallace said: “It should be looked at because the fans pay good money to see goals. They travel miles to see us get just one goal, so it’s up to us to share it with them. It didn’t hurt anyone or anything like that. I just think it is a silly rule.
“The rule-makers should appreciate that but at the end of the day that’s the rules. The referee has got to give it because it will be his neck on the line of he doesn’t.
Wallace collected a yellow card at Derby when he celebrated a debut goal in similar fashion.
His stop-start Sunderland career has not been helped by two red cards – at Ipswich and Hull – which have cost him three games of suspension.
The Hull incident was particularly galling for boss Roy Keane because the winger’s first yellow card in the game had been for dissent.
“When I ended up missing the two games I was disappointed because I want to play,” said the 21-year-old.
“That’s what everyone wants to do. The manager had a word. He said, ‘keep your shirt on.’ That was the end of it.
“I’ll make sure I do because I will probably get a rollicking next time. Having played with him at Celtic I knew what to expect from him and I respect what he says. It’s so frustrating because I want to play games, and that’s what I came here for.
“My suspension have made it harder to get a settled side. To have scored two goals so far is the high point for me personally but we want to get in the Premiership.
“We lost Kenny Cunningham as well through injury but we should have the quality to come in and do a job. It’s very important we find our best side. It’s very important we find our best side. Our best performance was against Leeds and that should be what we are aiming for because we were outstanding that game.
“We have got good competition for places everywhere you look.”