Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Keane's Getting Cats to Aim High

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Keane's Getting Cats to Aim High

Article excerpt

Byline: By Luke Edwards

Roy Keane has already managed to get Sunderland's promotion challenge off the ground but the Black Cats' new manager has turned to a former Olympic high-jumper to try and ensure they make the leap back into the Premiership.

The Wearsiders have secured two wins and a draw since Keane was persuaded to take up the challenge of dragging the club out of the doldrums by chairman Niall Quinn.

But while the Irishman's impact has been instant on a club which had been trapped in a spiral of depression and poor results, his former Eire international team-mate and new signing Graham Kavanagh has revealed Keane will use anything he can to try and ensure they remain on an upward curve. And it appears to be working, with Kavanagh insisting last night that a club stuck in the bottom three a little over a fortnight ago is now aiming to go up as champions.

"We had a psychology lesson last week or an inspirational talk from a guy called Steve Smith," said Kavanagh following the former Olympic Bronze medalist's visit to the club's training ground. "He was different class. It was about setting your goals further than what you hope to achieve. If you set them high you might come a little bit lower than you wanted but it will still be further than you previously set.

"It was an eye-opener for us and he achieved huge things in his sport, high-jump. It was very interesting and when you left the room you wanted to achieve more for yourself and the team. It shows that the gaffer is not going to leave any stone unturned to make us a better club and a better bunch of individuals."

Given Sunderland's poor start to the season when they lost four successive Championship games, Kavanagh has admitted it will not be easy to close the gap on the frontrunners. But it is a challenge he feels a newly-assembled but highly talented squad can rise to.

He explained: "Because of the slow start to the season we didn't pick up any points but if you get two points a game you're going to get promoted. …

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