Keane curbs promotion talk
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Roy Keane is refusing to entertain talk of automatic promotion despite beating Derby.
Roy Keane is refusing to entertain talk of automatic promotion despite Sunderland moving to within three points of Championship leaders West Brom.
The Black Cats were thankful for a last-gasp goal from Liam Miller as they secured a superb 2-1 win over Derby on Saturday that saw Billy Davies' side lose top spot.
Sunderland are now firmly in contention for an automatic promotion spot after winning six of their last eight games, but Keane was quick to point out that they are also just one point above eighth-placed Wolves.
"Right now we're the fourth or fifth best team in the league because that's where we are in the table," said Keane.
"If we'd have drawn today we would have been back down in ninth and you've got to give credit to the other teams, they are all on good runs. The only target right now is next Saturday.
"It was a very close game and it could have gone either way. Both teams have chances. It was a great game for the neutral.
"We've lost out to a last minute goal in the week (in the draw at Birmingham) so it was nice to score one so late."
Keane also denied that young striker Anthony Stokes had been left out of the squad due to disciplinary issues, stating: "Absolutely not. There were other players left out too and they would all be disappointed.
"I can only pick 11 players and have five on the bench and I just felt he's had three games on the bounce so I thought we'd leave him out and get him ready for next week."
Following the defeat, Rams boss Davies blamed his side's damaging run of three defeats in a row on bad luck, highlighting a disputed penalty award that allowed David Connolly to score the opening goal at the Stadium of Light.
"I thought we deserved to come away with three points," said Davies. "I would still question what was a contentious penalty. I didn't see any of the Sunderland players appealing for it.
"The referee says he's seen a tug of the jersey but I don't know where he's got that from.
"We've lost a lot of penalties of late, it's incredible, and we're just not getting the luck. The effort is there, the spirit is there but the luck is not."