Liam Miller will not be making a shock appearance in the Sunderland team away to Derby County today after being left on Wearside last night as Roy Keane, the manager, took his squad to the ground where he first took charge of Sunderland 18 months ago. That was in the Championship and Sunderland won 2-1.
For Keane, Pride Park will thus always hold a notable place in his career but there will be no pride if Sunderland lose. Derby may have won only one game all season and their manager, Paul Jewell, lambasted his players after last week's capitulation against Wigan Athletic, but Sunderland have suffered 10 consecutive away defeats.
"We equalled the club record for away defeats last week," Keane said. "Derby will be wanting a few more points because they will not want to break our record of the lowest-points total [Sunderland's 15 from 05-06]. We've got a few good records at this club. Some we need to get rid of."
Remarkably, had he been selected, Miller would have been only one of two survivors from Keane's first side in September 2006. Dean Whitehead is the other.
Keane recalled that in his debut pre-match talk he got the name of Derby's goalkeeper wrong and that a player – "soon sold", Keane joked – had to correct the new manager.Reuse content