Keane backs brave Chopra
Roy Keane has backed Michael Chopra to handle the pressure of coming up against his old club Newcastle.
By Peter O'Rourke
Last Updated: 09/11/07 9:03am
Sunderland boss Roy Keane has backed Michael Chopra to handle the pressure of coming up against his old club Newcastle this weekend.
The boyhood Magpies fan comes up against his former employers for the first time in Saturday's first Wear-Tyne derby of the season.
Chopra left Newcastle for Cardiff in the summer of 2006 after growing increasingly frustrated at his lack of first team opportunities at St James' Park.
His goalscoring exploits for the Welsh club persuaded Sunderland to fork out £5million for his services this summer and Keane admits the 23-year-old was brave to make cross the divide to sign for Sunderland.
"He is brave and I admire players who go against the grain," said Keane.
"We're delighted to have him and it wouldn't surprise me if he scores. He's from the area and it may drive him on a bit more."
"I've seen players move to clubs that play against each other in derbies. If Real Madrid players can go to Barcelona, it's no big deal.
"If Michael warrants a place in the team, he will play. As I've said before, it doesn't matter to me whether he's from Newcastle or New Zealand.
"He's a striker, so I'm sure he'll be desperate to score anyway."