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Preview: Reds vs FC Ireland (a.k.a Roy Keane’s Sunderland)

Manchester United Crest  Sunderland Club Crest

So the Mackems head to Old Trafford for a game which sees the return of a lot of familiar faces. Most prominent among them is manager Roy Keane himself. It’s also a side that has other ex-Reds such as Liam Miller, Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Danny Higginbotham, Kieran Richardson and Paul McShane.

Now that is a lot of ex-Reds. Anyhow, given the run we’ve had so far we would be anything but sympathetic about Sunderland’s situation and the players should be expected to be in a murderous mood to get some momentum going in the run in to the Chelsea game.

Out of the said list Danny Higginbotham and Paul McShane are injury doubts and Cole is not match fit as yet. From United’s side (hopefully) Saha should make the starting line-up. If not, at least the bench. Neville and Rooney will continue to be absent. Ronaldo will serve out the final game in his three match ban, which is good to hear – as it seems like eternity since he was out. Anderson should make the bench for the game.

It is a great occasion for Keano to be back at Old Trafford, however. His team are not doing particularly well at the moment – they are on the back of defeats at the hands of Wigan, Liverpool and Luton Town. So while it would be normal for people to think they will be on a low expect Keane to get them fired up for the game. Of course, if he does manage to whip them into some sort of shape and discipline, we could be seeing another game where an opposition would just park their bus in front of us.

On Keane, SAF had kind words to say. He said that Keano was his most influential buy. While some might argue that Cantona might have run him close, there was no doubt which player really whipped our team into shape on the field in the later years.

“Certain people do well in life because of real determination and a fire in their stomach that gets them somewhere. He has good knowledge of the game and he’s strong-minded.
“I see a bit of myself in him. I think that most managers want to see themselves on the pitch and with Keane I certainly saw that.””Roy was the nub of the team from the moment he arrived until the moment he left,” he said. “He wasn’t limited in his ability, but he didn’t have the ability of, say, Eric Cantona, Ryan Giggs or Paul Scholes.
“But he was able to take himself above that because he had that drive and ambition to get there. For example, in sprint sessions Roy wasn’t the quickest by any stretch. But if you put a ball in there he’d always be the quickest to it.”

Well said. You can read the rest of the article here.

About expectations from the game, I wouldn’t expect them to trouble us too much. But again, I have been eternally optimistic throughout this season so far. So I will continue in the same positive vein. Sunderland might be disciplined and all that, but at home and with the quality that we have, I think we might just turn out to be too much for them. Sorry Keane.

Expect chants of ‘Keano give us a wave’ from the home crowd.

Prediction: 3-0 to United. (As I said, I will remain eternally optimistic. Tevez, Vidic, Nani to be my picks.)

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