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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 10, 2007

Tottenham test for Keano's Sunderland

Sunderland manager Roy Keane believes the lessons he has learned from some of the greatest managers in British football history will stand him in good stead as he prepares to embark on his debut season in a Premier League dugout.

Keane will lead his team out for Saturday's Stadium of Light clash with Tottenham clearly treasuring the experience gained during his prestigious career under the likes of Brian Clough and Sir Alex Ferguson.

Keane said: 'I hope I have learned something from all the managers I have played under, not just at Manchester United but also Brian Clough and those I played under when I was 10 or 11 years of age.

'Hopefully all the experience will help me but only time will tell. Even the top managers make mistakes and I made a few last year. But I'd like to think that I'm a quick learner.'

Keane hopes to have club record signing Craig Gordon in goal for the Black Cats' Premier League return after the Scot sealed his big-money move to Wearside this week.

The Sunderland boss has already developed some of the intractable character traits renowned of his mentors.

He is adamant that the word 'survival' is one which should be banned from the club's training ground this year.

'What is survival?' added Keane. '15th? 16th? 17th? We did okay last year but we have achieved nothing at this club. We want to build on it now and hopefully be a success for many years to come.

'The Premiership is full of people whom I have the utmost respect for. People who have been successful not just for one season but for years and years.

'The sign of a top player or manager is one who can do it consistently. That is how you gauge if somebody has been a success in life and it is a massive challenge for us all.'

Keane expects Gordon to be fit to make his top-flight debut but he has doubts over full-back Greg Halford, who faces a late test on a hamstring injury, with youngster Michael Kay standing by to replace him.

Despite his hectic summer transfer activity which continued yesterday with the signing of Cork City striker Roy O'Donovan, Keane will kick off the new season with an eye on more reinforcements before the transfer window closes.

Keane's interest in Tottenham striker Mido continues and he added: 'I'd like to think we can get two more players in before the transfer window (closes) and we are working hard to get them in.'

The Black Cats' dismal start to their previous campaign still weighs heavy on the mind of Keane, who rescued them after four consecutive defeats to ultimately steer them to the Championship title.

Another such dismal start would surely have graver consequences in the more rarefied air of the Premier League, and Keane acknowledges the importance of preventing recent history from repeating itself.

'It is important we remain calm and focused,' added Keane. 'We deserve to be in the Premiership and hopefully we are going to make our mark on it.

'There is definitely a buzz around the place and we're all ready for a game which won't make or break our season, but I think it is very important we made a good start.

'For the last two or three seasons we have had a disappointing start to the season so we want to get off to a good one. We hope the new boys can come in and hit the ground running.'