Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Calm Quinn Won't Panic over Form Dip

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Calm Quinn Won't Panic over Form Dip

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Douglas

NIALL Quinn has reiterated the Sunderland board's confidence in Roy Keane, insisting there is no sense of panic about the team's run of four successive defeats.

Since the brief adrenaline rush of the club's first Wear-Tyne derby win for 28 years, the Black Cats' form has flat-lined, culminating in Wednesday's drab defeat by Blackburn in the Carling Cup and the first serious questions emerging about Keane's stewardship.

The sense of unease was heightened yesterday amid a flurry of unsubstantiated rumours that claimed variously that Keane had left Sunderland and failed to travel with the squad to the north west for this afternoon's game at Ewood Park. They were wholly without foundation and Keane will take to the Black Cats' dug-out, but it is a further signal that these are the most testing days of his so far stellar managerial career.

Having been provided with a sizeable budget to take Sunderland beyond the cycle of promotion and relegation from the Premier League that has blighted their recent history, Keane was expected to lead the Black Cats towards mid-table safety this term.

That is yet to happen, adding pressure ahead of this afternoon's crucial encounter with similarly inconsistent Blackburn Rovers.

And, while there is undoubtedly a sense of unease at occupying a spot in the bottom three of the Premier League, Quinn insists that it will not blow the Black Cats off course.

"We'll take the knock-backs because we've always known they'd be waiting for us and we will look to respond with determination," said Sunderland's chairman.

"Everyone here is fully committed to what we are trying to achieve and, despite some of the wind being taken out of our sails by recent results, we can see a lot of positives - starting with that first-half performance last Saturday (against Portsmouth). …

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