SUNDERLAND 10 YEARS AGO: Keane’s double boost

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

KEANE’S DOUBLE BOOST

GRAHAM KAVANAGH and Stephen Elliott have returned to training to boost Sunderland’s promotion hopes.

The Black Cats pair joined in with their colleagues this week before the squad took a three-day break.

But boss Roy Keane stressed today that he will take no chances with the two Republic of Ireland internationals.

Kavanagh hasn’t played a game in 2007 after breaking down with a knee injury in December. He had his second operation of the campaign in January.

Elliott has not featured since the 4-2 win at Sheffield Wednesday on January 20 and had an ankle operation five weeks ago, but both men joined in training yesterday, while Carlos Edwards (shoulder) has also been running.

Keane said: “Having players back lifts the other players, Carlos and Kav have been running and Sleeves joined in with the first-team lads yesterday, just nice and light towards the end and he did well.

“It’s brilliant, it’s good for any player who has had an injury to get out on the training pitch, I’m sure they have been frustrated. To see these lads on the training pitch is a great boost for us ahead of what will be an important couple of months.

“We’ll still have to be careful with them but I hope they will be involved before the end of the season.”

Sunderland go into the international break sitting third in the Championship on the back of a 13-game unbeaten run. Winger Edwards missed the last three of those games. There is an outside chance he will make the Wearsiders’ next fixture, at Cardiff City a week tomorrow, but Easter looks a more likely target.

“The surgeon Carlos has seen looks after the rugby lads so sometimes his mindset is a bit different to ours,” said Keane. “We don’t think Carlos will be hitting anyone waist height or upwards, like in rugby, so we’re hoping we can cut one or two weeks off the initial timescale.

“He’s a fit lad and he has been able to keep jogging. He’s looking really well and making fantastic progress.

“Cardiff might be too soon but you have to remember that the following week we have a couple of games in three days (at home to Wolves on April 7 then away to Southampton on East Monday, April 9).

“We’ll need the squad for that. If he was to be involved then, that would be great for us.”