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Page last updated at 11:57 GMT, Monday, 22 September 2008 12:57 UK

Fringe players must wait - Keane

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Keane concedes Sunderland 'rode their luck' against Middlesbrough

Sunderland manager Roy Keane has urged the club's fringe players to be patient and is adamant he will need them at some point this season.

Injuries and suspensions left the Wearsiders short on numbers last season and Keane says strength in depth is key to the club's top-flight ambitions.

"For a club like Sunderland the importance of substitutes is enormous," he told BBC Radio Newcastle.

"We'll get nowhere with just 11 players - we need a squad."

Keane also expressed his delight at Michael Chopra's two-goal return in the win over Middlesbrough on Saturday, having backed the striker to bounce back from his off-the-field problems.

Chopra thanks supportive Keane

"I spoke to the media on Friday and said Chopra looked back to his old self, and we had a training session where he looked really sharp," he said.

"He's had a difficult time, not just off the pitch but the suspension didn't help.

"But he's a fox in the box, he was lively and as well as scoring the goals, the keeper made another couple of saves from him."

Newcastle-born Chopra joined Sunderland from Championship side Cardiff City in July 2007 for a fee of 5m and has made 36 appearances, scoring eight goals.


see also
Keane confident of Chopra return
19 Sep 08 |  Sunderland
Sunderland v Northampton
22 Sep 08 |  League Cup
Sunderland 2-0 Middlesbrough
20 Sep 08 |  Premier League


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