Keane distances himself from Sunderland vacancy
Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane has distanced himself from the vacant Sunderland job, insisting he remains focused on qualifying for the World Cup.
The former Black Cats boss was specifically asked about the opportunity to return to club management at the Stadium of Light, after Martin O’Neill suggested he expects Keane to return to a position as number one “at some stage or other”.
As Eire gear themselves up for the first leg of the qualifying play-offs to gain a spot at Russia 2018, the ex-Manchester United midfielder replied:
At the moment in time I’m really enjoying what I am doing with Ireland. I enjoy working with Martin, the staff and the FAI and the only thing on my mind in the next few days is helping the team try to get to the World Cup.
In terms on club management, all that is on the back burner at the moment.
Keane was a storming success the last time Sunderland were in the Championship, leading the team to the title and promotion to the Premier League.
More names added to the ‘possible’ list
Luton Town boss Nathan Jones and Barnsley manager Paul Heckingbottom are two of the latest names to be linked to the Sunderland job, while Aitor Karanka and John O’Shea still lead the betting.
The odds on Heckingbottom swapping South Yorkshire for Wearside have dropped to 10/1, whilst Jones is out as far as 22/1 this morning despite The Sun having claimed Sunderland have made contact with Luton to secure his services.
With the Sunderland Echo insisting the Black Cats will take their time over appointing the next man to try his luck at turning around the ever steepening decline at the Stadium of Light, Martin Bain must be shuffling CVs this week ahead of an appointment after the weekend.
Lamine Kone out until December
Don’t all cry at once, but Sunderland defender Lamine Kone has been confirmed as out for between four and six weeks following the results of an MRI scan on his hip.
With the Ivory Coast facing a crucial final World Cup qualifying game against Morocco this weekend, Elephants boss Marc Wilmots confirmed he had delayed naming his squad waiting on the outcome of Kone’s tests:
I just waited for Friday because Lamine Kone called me, he told me that he had hurt his knee and also the adductor. I waited for the results of the MRI for whether he could be present or not. Lamine Kone will unfortunately have between 4 and 6 weeks of injury.
Kone missed the Tees-Wear derby on Sunday and was dropped for the home with Bolton game a week ago - the result which finally cost Simon Grayson his job.
Reignited rumours that Kone could yet move to West Ham in the January window to reunite with David Moyes seem some way off the mark, especially considering that the Ivorian defender was one of those rumoured to have refused to play for the Scot as his tenure at Sunderland limped to an end.