Sport Soccer

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Sunderland poised for £9m Keane swoop

Sunderland go into tonight's home game against Stoke looking to arrest a run of form that has seen them plummet down the table. But their movements in the hours before kick-off will also be the source of much intrigue.

The Black Cats have been strongly linked with a £9m swoop for Tottenham and Republic of Ireland striker Robbie Keane before the transfer window closes at 5.0 today.

Spurs could be ready to cash in on the Dubliner after snapping up Eidur Gudjohnsen on loan from Monaco for the rest of the season, and the arrival of Keane at the Stadium of Light could also pave the way for Black Cats striker Kenwyne Jones to switch to Liverpool.

Black Cats boss Steve Bruce is keen to sign a new striker ahead of today's deadline and has also opened talks with Manchester City about a deal for Benjani.

On the pitch, Bruce saw his team amass 20 Premier League points from the first 39 on offer, but injuries and suspensions have decimated his squad since then, and the last nine league games have brought just three points. The club have slipped to 13th place and are only three points clear of the drop zone.

It has proved a testing period for Bruce, although he is convinced his team's fortunes will improve once he has a full squad to choose from.

He said: "It's been the toughest, yes, but it's part and parcel of it. I could make excuses all day long of what the problems are -- the simple fact is we need to get people fit."

The visits of Stoke and Wigan to the Stadium of Light in the space of six days this week are chances to improve things.

Bruce is hopeful that Michael Turner, Lee Cattermole and Phil Bardsley can shake off injuries to take their places in the starting line-up for two games he believes could have a major say in the outcome of the entire campaign.

He said: "It can define our season -- if we can win the pair of them, then we can look to try to catch Everton or Birmingham or Fulham; if we don't, then we know what's in store."

Sunderland v Stoke,

Live, ESPN, 8.0

Irish Independent

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