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Striker Stern John says one of the key factors behind Sunderland ’s recent success of late is the very professional and strict manner in which manager Roy Keane handles the team.

John, signed by Keane from Coventry City a few weeks  ago, has two goals to his name but knows he has to keep on delivering in order to stay in the starting team. He went close on a couple of occasions in their 2-1 win over Derby County on the weekend and now has to focus on another big fixture against West Brom on Saturday. A result there could have a heavy influence on Sunderland ’s promotion chances.

“Roy Keane is a serious manager. He means business. He handles you in a very professional way but he lets you know what expects of you and he will have no slackness in his team,” John said. “I think apart from how well the team is playing, his way in handling the team has had a very positive influence. I think I can say that this is the best playing team that I have been with,” John admitted. “We have all settled in well and Carlos and Dwight are also enjoying it. It’s hard because we are in the crunch period but because of the conditions at the club, the atmosphere and the way we are playing, it makes it all enjoyable pressure,” John added.

Sunderland 4th on the table with 60 points, one behind closes rivals Birmingham City and two behind leaders West Brom. Birmingham have two games in hand however. Kenwyne Jones’ Southampton are right on their backs though on 59 points.