Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Jones Gives Cats a Scare for Rams Clash

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Jones Gives Cats a Scare for Rams Clash

Article excerpt

Byline: By Luke Edwards

SUNDERLAND manager Roy Keane has received a major injury scare ahead of the relegation face-off against Derby on Saturday following the news Kenwyne Jones is struggling with a rib injury.

The Black Cats desperately need a win at home against the Rams, who controversially sacked manager Billy Davies yesterday just six months after the Scot led the club to a shock promotion from the Championship thanks to victory in the play-off final.

Derby are already adrift at the bottom of the table and have won only once all season - at home to Newcastle United back in September. Despite the euphoria of promotion, they have quickly become the top-flight's whipping boys, taking just six points from 14 games with a goal difference of minus 28.

Sunderland's form, though, despite some decent performances, has been little better in recent weeks and they have not won since the 2-1 victory over Reading in September. They have collected just three points in the eight games since that win and slipped into the relegation zone for the first time this season over the weekend.

As a result, the visit of Derby to the Stadium of Light already looks like a must-win game for Keane's side, but they may have to do without their top goalscorer. Jones has been the Black Cats' best player so far this season, but he could be forced to miss the clash with the Rams after he received a nasty whack on his side during the 7-1 humiliation at Everton last weekend.

With Michael Chopra struggling for goals and veteran Andy Cole only making his first appearance in a red-and-white shirt as a second-half substitute at Goodison Park after a calf problem, the timing of Jones' injury could not be worse. Sunderland's inability to convert possession and chances into goals has been their main deficiency so far this season and Keane, who described Jones injury as a "bad knock on the ribs" will give the former Southampton striker until the last possible moment to prove his fitness before Saturday's game. …

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