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Keane confirms Sunderland cup ambitions

Roy Keane admits he is desperate to improve on his poor cup record since going into management.

The Sunderland boss oversaw his first cup victory four weeks ago, when the Black Cats won 2-1 at Nottingham Forest in the second round of the Carling Cup.

The man who won 12 cups as a player - aside from his eight league championship medals at Manchester United and Celtic - is now hoping to take Sunderland to the later stages of one competition he failed to win during his illustrious playing career.

League One side Northampton Town, managed by former Southampton and Wolves boss Stuart Gray, stand in Keane's way tomorrow as they go to the Stadium of Light having caused one of the shocks of the second round by beating Bolton 2-1.

Keane, three times a League Cup final loser with United (1994 and 2003) and Forest (1992), did not get his managerial cup record off to the best of starts with three straight defeats.

Indeed, it was last season's Carling Cup defeat at Luton which particularly bugs Keane.

And after winning four FA Cup winners' medals and the Champions League as a player with United - and the Scottish League Cup with Celtic) - he says Sunderland need to develop a winning habit.

``The defeat at Luton last season still sticks in my throat, it was a huge disappointment, as well as losing to Wigan in the FA Cup,'' admitted Keane, whose side beat Middlesbrough 2-0 in the league on Saturday.

``There needs to be an improvement. We want to win as many games as possible. We want to win every game, whether it's Middlesbrough or Northampton, and I have a big squad of players to use.

``There's always a nice reaction when you win a game of football - there's certainly a buzz around the place after Saturday's result and it helped because it was a cracking game.

``But we have to be focused on tomorrow night now. We have to forget about the Aston Villa match on Saturday and concentrate only on Northampton, give them the respect they deserve.''

Keane believes Sunderland should look to emulate other clubs who have reaped the rewards of an extended run in cup competitions.

Middlesbrough's Carling Cup win of 2004 catapulted them into European football for the first time in their history, while Blackburn and Tottenham have also lifted the Carling Cup in recent seasons, not to mention Cardiff and winners Portsmouth reaching the FA Cup Final last season.

``There has been evidence over the years that this competition can be great for clubs and with the home draw we've got to see ourselves in the hat for the next round,'' said Keane.

``A lot of decent teams were knocked out in the last round and they would love to be in our shoes and in the third round, we have to make the most of it.


From Belfast Telegraph