SUNDERLAND TEN YEARS AGO: Keane’s Yorke poser, Rowell backs Stead

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Here’s a look back at what the Echo was reporting on Sunderland 10 years ago.

KEANE FACES YORKE POSER

Roy Keane is facing his first club versus country clash today in the wake of Dwight Yorke’s call-up for Trinidad and Tobago.

The Sunderland boss was due to sit down with the former Manchester United striker today to discuss whether or not the player should head out to the Caribbean.

Yorke has been called up for his country’s two friendly matches against Nicaragua and Panama which would take him away from England for the better part of a fortnight. And everyone has to sit down to decide what is in the best interest of all concerned.

Keane said: “I’ve got to speak to Dwight to decide what we’re going to do.

“I would never begrudge anyone a chance to play for their country. And Dwight has said that it’s a transitional period for his international team and they really want him to be there to help them through it.

“Perhaps we’ve got to be realistic because Dwight is not going to be playing in the World Cup next time around.

“He’s just arrived at a new club where we’re trying to get him fully fit and we’ve got to ask whether a couple of friendlies so far away is the right way to go.

“It’s something we’ve got to sit down and discuss and consider. We’ve got to look at everyone’s best interests, including Dwight’s.

GARY ROWELL: STRIKER CRISIS HAS HAD AN EFFECT

You have to cut Sunderland a little bit of slack considering the striker crisis.

I know we have one of the biggest squads in the division, but any one of the top four in the Premiership would struggle if you deprived them of four strikers.

By one of those quirks of football, we’ve lost Stephen Elliott, David Connolly, Daryl Murphy and John Stead to injuries all at the same time.

They only have two strikers to call on – Chris Brown, who has never been prolific, and Dwight Yorke who still looks a yard short of fitness.

So you can see it isn’t going to be easy.

Of the four players out, I understand Stead is closest to returning and it will certainly be interesting to see what happens if he’s included in the squad to play Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.

A lot of people have written him off, but I think he has a bit of quality, especially at this level, and I’ll be fascinated to see how he does if he gets a chance.