SUNDERLAND 10 YEARS AGO: Op for Elliott, Saxton and Shaw leave

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

ELLIOTT FACES SIX WEEKS OUT AFTER OP

STEPHEN ELLIOTT has undergone surgery and is unlikely to play for Sunderland again before April.

The Republic of Ireland international underwent an operation on a troublesome ankle injury yesterday and will be sidelined for between four and six weeks.

The club and player had initially hoped that the injury that has kept him out of the side for the past three weeks would respond to rest. But unfortunately, it showed no sign of improvement and going under the surgeon’s knife was the only option for the striker.

It will be a devastating blow for a player with such promise, whose last couple of seasons have been wrecked by injury.

But manager Roy Keane is looking on the positive side.

He told the Echo: “Of course it’s disappointing, but at least it’s getting sorted out. The operation was relatively straightforward and now it will be a question of Stephen working on his rehabilitation.

“If all goes to plan, he should be coming back fresh and ready for the last few weeks of the campaign. At at that stage, his goals, and the other things he brings to the team could be a major benefit to us.”

Keane admitted that it was a pity that the striker could not have made a natural recovery.

He said: “We like to give players every chance of recovery from injury and surgery is the last option rather than the first one. We did all the usual things with Stephen in terms of rest and training but nothing worked so an operation was inevitable.

“But it’s not a serious thing or a long term thing and hopefully he won’t be out for too long.”

SAXTON AND SHAW LEAVE SUNDERLAND

Sunderland have parted company with assistant manager Bobby Saxton and chief scout Bob Shaw.

The two men left the club yesterday as manager Roy Keane continued his re-shaping of the Sunderland coaching staff.

Saxton was appointed assistant boss of the club in the summer when chairman Niall Quinn took in the role of manager and looked for an experienced deputy to help him settle in.

Shaw was brought in shortly afterwards from Blackburn Rovers to head the search for new talent.

No announcement of replacements are expected in the short term.

Roy Keane said today: “Sacko and Bob Shaw have left the club and we wish them all the very best for the future.

“Bobby Saxton was very helpful when I first arrived at the club and everything was moving at 100 miles per hour.

“But now that things have settled down, we’re looking to be organised and change the set-up – that’s football.

“I’m looking at one or two people to bring in but there’s nothing immediate.

“And I don’t expect anything to happen straight away.”