SUNDERLAND 10 YEARS AGO: Ward targets top half

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


Ward’s top half target

SUNDERLAND players have a great incentive going into Saturday’s game against Luton Town, says Darren Ward – the prospect of going into the top half of the Championship table.

The Sunderland stopper says the team has been on a mission to climb the table in recent weeks.

But even though results have improved dramatically, the club’s league position has not.

And Ward says this weekend is the perfect chance to see the table finally reflecting Sunderland’s resurgence.

He told the Echo: “We were a little disappointed we weren’t in the top half of the table on Saturday after the win against Norwich. After the game, we were watching the tables come over on the television and when it flashed up the top half of the Championship we still weren’t in it. We were all a bit surprised and thinking, “where the heck are we?”

“But that just shows you we would have been in the table if we hadn’t had this good run – we would be really struggling.

“We have to take the positives from our situation though and the fact is we’ve set ourselves up for a great opportunity this weekend if we can get a good result. Even a draw could take us into the top half of the table.

“But a win would definitely do it, as far as I can see and that will be a great incentive for all of us. We know we are only five points from the top six but after such a good run, it would be nice to see that closeness reflected in the table.”

Ward will hope to continue his own good form at the weekend, having done what was needed against former club Norwich City last Saturday to extend the club’s unbeaten run to five games.

He said: “It was a very scrappy affair. The wind was a bit blustery and the pitch was bad, but we scrapped and got the all-important goal.

“I don’t think they threatened very much and looking at it we maybe deserved more than the three points from the two games against Norwich.

“At Carrow Road, we passed them off the park – if it was a boxing match we would have won easily on points. Last Saturday, we looked the more menacing and they hardly threatened.

“We’re all in a positive mood in the camp and looking forward to the game at the weekend.”