Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cats Pondering Beattie Contingency

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cats Pondering Beattie Contingency

Article excerpt


JAMES Beattie has emerged as one of Sunderland's top targets as they look for a short-term replacement for striker Kenwyne Jones, writes STUART RAYNER.

The Wearsiders have made enquiries about Sheffield United's 30-year-old forward as they consider their options with Jones likely to miss some, if not all, of the first half of the coming season.

The Black Cats are still weeks away from knowing how long Jones' knee ligament injury will keep him on the sidelines, but with the early signs not looking good, they are preparing contingency plans. Making a move for former England striker Beattie (pictured, far right) is one of them.

Jones injured his knee in a collision with David James during the recent Trinidad and Tobago v England friendly.

The joint is so swollen that accurate diagnosis is impossible at present. Until the 22-year-old is back to full fitness, manager Roy Keane has only one targetman to rely on, and last season Daryl Murphy was regularly used to cover absences on either wing.

Beattie enjoyed something of a renaissance last season after 18 barren months with Everton. The Blackburn Rovers youth product scored 22 goals in 41 appearances to help transform the Blades from relegation strugglers to play-off contenders. At his age, Beattie would represent something of a shortterm signing but that could be just what the Wearsiders need under the circumstances.

Paying around pounds 4m for a striker with Premier League and international experience may prove to be a better move than buying or loaning a younger, more expensive alternative who may need more time to get used to the pace of England's top flight.

Beattie made his name during a seven-year stint following in the footsteps of his idol, Alan Shearer, at Southampton. He was a crucial part of the Saints side which reached the 2003 FA Cup final, earning him international recognition and a pounds 6m move to Goodison Park. A regular at Under-21 level, his five senior England caps all came in 2003, though he only started one World Cup qualifier - the 2-0 win at home to Liechtenstein in September. …

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