SUNDERLAND 10 YEARS AGO: No sweeping changes from Keane, Varga set for second debut

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



Boss aims to build on first win

ROY KEANE says he does not intend to make sweeping changes for his first game in charge of Sunderland, but admits some players will end up disappointed.

Keane has five of his six deadline day signings available for tomorrow’s managerial debut at Derby County.

But he does not want to upset the apple cart after the Black Cats’ impressive 2-0 home win over West Bromich Albion last week.

Keane said: “I’ve been looking at everyone in training and unfortunately for me I will have to disappoint certain players.

“I have had competition for places throughout my career and that’s what it’s all about. The lads here will know now that they have a challenge on their hands.

“I have a good idea about the team now after watching everyone in training and I will have another look today at how everyone is shaping up.

“One or two will be disappointed this weekend, but hopefully they’ll come back into training and look to force their way back in.”

After all of the talk in the 10 days since Keane was introduced as Sunderland boss, he’s relieved a game of football is about to be played.

“It was hectic with me arriving and then the transfer window closing, but hopefully things will settle down now and I’m looking forward to the football now,” he said.

“I’ll be down on the touchline from the start tomorrow and have someone watching from the stands.

“I want to be down there influencing things from the start.”  


STAN VARGA will accept a quieter Sunderland debut tomorrow if it leads to a more successful second spell on Wearside.

The imposing Slovakian had the best debut in many a memory when he first joined the Black Cats, inspiring them to a 1-0 victory over Arsenal on the opening day of 2000-01.

Ecstasy turned to agony for the centre-back when a freak injury in his second match at Manchester City almost cost him his leg.

Now aged 33, the centre-back hopes his return from Celtic will bring only good memories, starting at Derby tomorrow.

Varga said: “I had a fantastic debut when I was here last, then I got injured and when I tried to come back the injury still wasn’t quite right.

“Maybe if I hadn’t had the injury – who knows that might have happened.

“I remember feeling on top of the world after that game against Arsenal and then, after the injury, I felt at the bottom of the world.

“The injury was very serious – I had a blood clot and I came close to losing my leg. I didn’t speak very good English at the time and I didn’t really know what was happening, but I had four operations in eight days so I knew it was bad. 

“That’s in the past now and I am just looking forward to playing for the club again.

“But I would rather have a quieter debut this time and them everything go OK from there on.”