Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Impress Me, Cats Boss Tells His Stars

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Impress Me, Cats Boss Tells His Stars

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

Roy Keane has told his players it is up to them to secure their futures at the Stadium of Light after admitting it is unlikely Sunderland will be able to sustain such an extensive squad in the long-term.

But although the Black Cats boss has disappointed several first-team performers with his selection for this afternoon's eagerly-awaited fixture at Pride Park, he last night insisted that all will be given ample opportunities to retain their places in a new look dressing room.

Last week's transfer market splurge means 32 players now have senior squad numbers and, as Keane prepares for his managerial debut, the side he selects promises to be as interesting as the result he engineers.

A clutch of players who will have expected to feature in a game of great intrigue have not even travelled to the Midlands for one of the biggest days in the club's recent history. And with no reserve side in which to keep the underemployed occupied, departures look inevitable, with squad management an issue Keane plans to address once a hectic sequence of fixtures has been negotiated.

"Unfortunately for me, I'm going to have to disappoint players," said the Irishman who, with the exception of Dwight Yorke, will attempt to integrate all his recent signings into his first-team squad this afternoon.

"It will be hard to manage, especially without a reserve team, but that's the way it is. We have trained with squads of 28 and 29 this week and that's far too many. It's something we must look at over the coming months.

"I might feel we have to trim down to an elite squad. It would be unfair on players otherwise and I want to try to be fair but it's difficult. If someone comes to see me in a month or two and he is clearly not in my plans, it's something I will deal with, because you have to be fair with them. …

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