Keane's selection miracle?

Keane ponders unchanged team

Keane: Selection miracle?

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Sunderland boss Roy Keane could perform a selection miracle on Saturday to mark his 50th game in charge - by naming an unchanged team for the third match in a row!

Last weekend's 2-1 success against Reading saw Keane send out the same 11 in successive games for the first time in his short tenure.

And the 36-year-old Irishman admits he could pick the same team again for Sunderland's Premiership trip to fierce North East rivals Middlesbrough.

He said: "Do I look to change a winning team for Saturday? We will see how the lads react.

"There might be a chance that we have a miracle and pick the same team three games in a row. That would be unbelievable, wouldn't it?"

Keane, 36, has been forced to chop and change his team because he at first needed to assess his large squad.

Injuries

And then injuries this term - including to skipper Dean Whitehead and wingers Carlos Edwards and Kieran Richardson - have left him needing to swap and change again, while recent signings Ian Harte and Andy Cole have yet to come into the squad.

Keane explained: "People think that when I came into the job, my plan was to chop and change it every week, but it wasn't.

"It was just that when I got the job, there was a big squad, I had to throw in players to see what they were about.

"I was looking to play a more settled side this year, but that's been taken out of my hands with the injuries we have had. No-one could have predicted them.

"It helps having a settled team. If you asked any player - certainly the back four and the goalkeeper - they would want a settled team."

Keane could have a bigger squad at his disposal for the trip to the Riverside Stadium as Cole and defender Russell Anderson have overcome calf injuries, while Harte played 90 minutes for the reserves in their 3-1 defeat by Manchester City on Wednesday.

Reflecting on his tenure so far, he told the club's official website: "It's coming up to 50 games already, it's amazing how quickly time moves on."