Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cats Are Relieved the Hype Is Over

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cats Are Relieved the Hype Is Over

Article excerpt

Byline: By Luke Edwards

After the hype and international attention that came with his appointment, Darren Ward believes Roy Keane is far more comfortable at Sunderland now that he can concentrate on trying to get the club back into the Premiership.

Despite spending more than 10 years as captain of Manchester United, the most famous club in Europe, Keane does not appear to enjoy the glitz and glamour that comes with his profession.

But, having faced a barrage of media attention following his first managerial appointment on Wearside, the Black Cats have steadily begun to claw their way up the Championship table on the back of a five-game unbeaten run while Keane has quietly grown into the job.

"I don't think the league table really reflects the run that we've been on," said Ward, who became Sunderland first-choice goalkeeper when Keane decided to drop England Under-21 international Ben Alnwick. "We've been working hard and we've been getting our rewards.

"You'd have to ask the manager how he feels about the attention his appointment brought, but I imagine it's true that he is quite happy to do things quietly.

"The way he goes about his business and conducts himself around the building, I don't think he favours all the razzmatazz and hype that we saw earlier this season. It could well be in our interests that all of that is starting to die down a little bit."

It has been less than a month since Sunderland were hovering just above the relegation zone and in danger of losing touch with the play-off places.

But, as Keane started to get rid of the players he did not think were up to the job on Wearside, Sunderland's results have steadily improved. The hard-fought 1-0 win over Norwich City at the weekend has put them just five points behind sixth-placed Burnley and Ward feels there is a gradually growing momentum behind them.

He said: "I think there's a collective belief that, each game we go out there, there's a great chance we're going to keep a clean sheet and a great chance we're going to score. …

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