Keane goes for goals

NOT scoring enough goals has been our Achilles heel” - this has been Roy Keane's most common quote, during post-match press conferences this season.

Carl Marston

NOT scoring enough goals has been our Achilles heel” - this has been Roy Keane's most common quote, during post-match press conferences this season.

In an effort to solve that problem, Keane successfully recruited front-runners David Healy and Daryl Murphy from his old club Sunderland yesterday, both on loan deals until the end of the season.

Striker Healy, and fellow striker or left winger Murphy, have both struggled to make an impact at the Stadium of Light this season.

But Keane is banking on their experience coming up trumps at a lower level, and both have the potential to be a force in the Championship.

No Town player has scored more than six goals this season - both Jon Walters and Jon Stead have six - and Keane's men have only managed to win a game by more than a one-goal margin twice all campaign.

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The lack of goals, just 31 in 27 league matches, has too often left Town under pressure at the end of games, trying desperately to hang on for a narrow win or a share of the spoils. The result has been six goals conceded in injury-time, and eight from the 84th minute onwards.

Keane is hoping that the presence of Healy and Murphy will not only cure his goal-scoring headache, but also help to propel Town away from the relegation battle. They are currently just one place and three points clear of the bottom three, following Saturday's depressing 2-0 defeat at Preston.

Healy never made the grade at his first club Manchester United, where he was a team-mate of Keane. He played just one game for United in the Premier League, ironically as a substitute in a 2-0 win over Ipswich Town in November, 2000, when he hit the bar with a long-range shot.

But since then he has carved out a good career for himself, at the likes of Preston, Leeds, Fulham and Sunderland. He also had a loan spell at Norwich City in 2003.

However, his one-and-a-half year stay at Sunderland has been disappointing, not least because he never actually started a game in the Premier League! He made 10 appearances as a substitute last season, and three more this term in the away defeats at Tottenham (77th minute substitute), Wigan (84) and Manchester City (79).

The 30-year-old has the distinction of being Northern Ireland's all-time leading goalscorer (35 goals), including netting a famous winner against England in a World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park in 2005. Another highlight was celebrating a hat-trick in a 3-2 win over Spain in 2006, so becoming the first Northern Ireland player to score three goals in a game since George Best.

Murphy, meanwhile, has been on the point of signing for Town on more than one occasion.

The 26-year-old had a trial at Portman Road in 2005, before joining Sunderland, and was also a target of Keane over the summer. He has chalked up nine caps for the Republic of Ireland.

On the face of it, Murphy's goalscoring record at Sunderland is not great - just 14 goals in 110 league appearances - but more crucially, he did contribute a healthy 10 goals during Sunderland's promotion-winning season in the Championship in 2006-07.

HEALY FACT-FILE

BORN: Killyleagh, Northern Ireland, on August 5, 1979 (aged 30)

POSITION: striker

BIG-MONEY MOVES: to Preston (�1.5m in 2000), Leeds (undisclosed fee in 2004), Fulham (�1.5m in 2007) and Sunderland (�1.2m in August, 2008)

LAST SEASON: Did not start a league game for Sunderland, scoring once in 10 substitute appearances

OFF-FIELD HIGHLIGHT: Received the MBE from the Queen last season

INTERNATIONAL RENOWN: Northern Ireland's record goalscorer with 35 goals

MURPHY FACT-FILE

BORN: Waterford, March 15, 1983 (aged 26)

POSITION: striker or left winger

TRANSFERS: Freed by Luton without making an appearance in 2002; signed by Sunderland from Waterford for �100,000 in 2005

EARLY DAYS: scored 10 goals as Sunderland won Championship title in 2006-07

A CRACKER: His spectacular 25-yard strike against Wigan was named as “Match of the Day's” goal-of-the-month for February, 2008

CULT HERO: Came off the bench to score the winner over local rivals Middlesbrough in April, 2008, to secure Sunderland's Premier League status

SUNDERLAND STATS: 14 goals in 110 league appearances (50 as substitute)

FRUSTRATIONS: He did not score in 2008-09, and was mainly used as a substitute. Just three appearances in Premier League this term