SUNDERLAND 10 YEARS AGO: Danny Simpson signs, Caldwell in no rush

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

KEANE SWOOPS FOR SIMPSON

Loan deal for United defender

ROY KEANE bolstered his Sunderland squad further last night by making Manchester United’s Danny Simpson his fifth New Year signing.

And the youngster’s arrival could bring an end to Dean Whitehead’s spell out of position at right-back, which is Simpson’s favoured role.

The 20-year-old joins until June – which would make him available for the play-offs if Sunderland get there – and will go straight into Keane’s squad for Tuesday’s Championship home game against Crystal Palace.

The manager may have a dilemma, however, because of Whitehead’s outstanding form at full-back. The former Oxford playmaker is desperate to be back in central midfield, but has grown into the defensive role and preformed excellently.

Simpson’s arrival also puts more pressure on the returning Stephen Wright, who has battled back from ankle surgery and will hope to be in first team contention shortly.

Keane now sees Nyron Nosworthy as an emerging centre-back and has moved to strengthen a problem area in his squad.

It probably now leaves the former Man United midfielder chasing a left-back before the January transfer window closes.

Salford-born Simpson came through the Red Devils’ academy alongside Norther Ireland centre-back Jonny Evans, who has sparkled since joining the Black Cats on loan earlier this month.

Like Evans, he spent the first half of this season – and all of last – on loan at United’s feeder club Royal Antwerp.

Simpson did well in Belgium, establishing himself in the first team and scoring a screamer against Tubize.

He went on to have a starring role in United’s pre-season tour of South Africa and continued his fine form into a second four-month loan at Antwerp, which ended last month.

Simpson follows Evans, Marton Fulop, Carlos Edwards and Anthony Stokes as January arrivals.

CALDWELL IN NO RUSH

STEVE Caldwell may keep his options open rather than rush into a move to Burnley, who could face competition from another Championship club today.

Sunderland has accepted a £400,000 bid for their skipper and Caldwell has held talks with the Clarets. But he is out of contract in the summer and may prefer to see what other interest arises.

The Echo understands another Championship club could enter the race soon. Any move would have to make football and financial sense to a player who could benefit from a Bosman transfer in the summer.

Caldwell has not asked to leave Sunderland and would prefer to remain on Wearside, unless it is made clear he is definitely not a part of boss Roy Keane’s plans.

The Scotland international is recovering from a hamstring injury and Keane told the Echo yesterday that he had accepted Burnley’s bid “in the interests of the club.”

It is not clear whether the 26-year-old former Newcastle defender has been offered a new deal, though Keane added: “Steve’s contract is expiring in the summer, so we had to look at the situation. It’s a long story and I don’t really want to go into it, but I spoke to Steve and his agent and there were a few things I wasn’t happy about.”

If he is to go, Caldwell would certainly hope for an opportunity at a club that is challenging for promotion. Burnley started the season strongly, but have fallen away of late.

Burnley boss Steve Cotterill – a former assistant manager of Sunderland – said: “We have agreed a fee with Sunderland and we’re now waiting to hear back from the player and his agent.

“I met Steve on Wednesday at the ground, and we’re just waiting for a decision. He would be a good signing for the club.”

Caldwell was a Bosman transfer from Newcastle in June, 2004, and has made 81 Sunderland appearances.

His five goals for the club included a Stadium of Light winner against Leicester in April, 2005, to confirm the Black Cats’ promotion to the Premiership. He went on to lift the Championship trophy in his debut season here.

Keane is not struggling for centre-backs, with Jonny Evans, Nyron Nosworthy, Danny Collins, Stan Varga and Kenny Cunningham all available in that position.