Richardson behind Sbragia
Kieran Richardson believes that caretaker manager Ricky Sbragia is behind the Black Cats' recent revival.
By Richard Bailey
Last Updated: 15/12/08 6:56pm
Sunderland midfielder Kieran Richardson believes that caretaker manager Ricky Sbragia is behind the Black Cats' recent revival.
Sbragia, a first team coach at the club, was asked by chairman Niall Quinn to take temporary charge following Roy Keane's resignation.
The former Manchester United reserve team manager has been assisted by fellow coach Neil Bailey and veteran midfielder Dwight Yorke.
Since the trio took over there has been a noticeable improvement in the side's performances.
Sunderland were unlucky to come away from Old Trafford without a point in Sbragia's first game in charge as United claimed a last minute winner.
Most importantly for Sunderland the club carried the performance into the crunch Premier League home game against bottom of the table West Brom.
With regular captain Dean Whitehead out injured Sbragia handed the captain's armband to Richardson and the 24-year-old led his side to an emphatic 4-0 win.
"I have known Ricky a long time. He was at Manchester United when I was coming up through the ranks," Richardson told the Chronicle.
"He has everyone confident and expressing themselves again. You never know, he might get the job."
The win lifted Sunderland out of the relegation places but near neighbours Newcastle's win over Portsmouth 24-hours later sent the Black Cats back into the bottom three.
Despite the club's precarious position Richardson is adamant that the club can still finish in the top half of the table aided by the goals from their in-form strikeforce.
"I have never been worried about the league table," declared the midfielder.
"We are still less than half-way through the season and two back-to-back wins now could put you in contention for Europe.
"We still have a long way to go, but hopefully we can finish in the top half of the table."
"You want to be a goal threat from all over the pitch, but the fact Djib (Cisse)and Kenwyne (Jones) caused such problems for West Brom was massive for us.
"They showed again that, if we provide them with the service, they have the ability to convert more than their fair share."