SUNDERLAND 10 YEARS AGO: Connolly battle, defender joins Wolves

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

CONNOLLY TARGETS FITNESS BOOST

Sunderland striker David Connolly is battling a hamstring injury ahead of Saturday’s visit to Norwich City.

The forward was a surprise omission from the Black Cats’ squad as they went down 2-1 at home to Championship leaders Cardiff City on Tuesday.

Having gone on as a substitute in the weekend win at Hull City, many thought the Republic of Ireland international was a candidate to start against the Bluebirds.

But the Echo has learned that a recurrence of a hamstring strain he picked up in last month’s 2-0 home win over Barnsley kept Connolly out.

The problem is responding to treatment and Sunderland boss Roy Keane is hopeful the 29-year-old will be available for the trip to Carrow Road at the weekend.

Connolly has been hindered by injuries since he became the costliest of Keane’s six deadline day signings at the end of August.

After a £1.4million switch from Wigan, he broke down with a thigh strain in his second outing for the Black Cats and missed two gamed before returning as a last-minute sub against Sheffield Wednesday.

The ex-West Ham, Leicester, Wimbledon and Feyenoord hitman has yet to register a goal, but has also not put together a sustained run in the side in order to build some form.

Keane was pleased to hear that Graham Kavanagh and Stephen Elliott came through unscathed after their involvement as subs against Cardiff. Both men could be in the frame for a start on Saturday after the manager was scathing of his side’s performance on Tuesday.

Centre-back Steve Caldwell, who was on the bench but not involved after three months sidelined with a knee injury, many also come into contention to face the Canaries.

COLLINS MAKES LOAN SWITCH TO WOLVES

Sunderland defender Neill Collins will join Wolves on loan today.

The Scot is at Molineux for a medical and will sign a temporary deal until January, less than 48 hours after featuring in Sunderland’s 2-1 home loss to Cardiff City.

Troon-born Collins was recalled at right-back by boss Roy Keane because he wanted to push Dean Whitehead back into midfield for Tuesday’s clash with the Championship leaders.

Nyron Nosworthy should be fit to fill the right-back berth at Norwich on Saturday.

Tuesday’s game was Collins’s 24th Sunderland appearance since current Wolves manager Mick McCarthy brought him to Wearside for £25,000 from Dumbarton two years ago.

The 23-year-old was handed a new three-year contract in August, tying him to Sunderland until 2009.

Wolves, who want the Scotland Under-21 cap as cover at centre-back, may eventually look to make the deal permanent. Collins joins former Sunderland defenders Jody Craddock and Gary Breen at Molineux.