Grabban may be fit for QPR clash
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Simon Grayson says Lewis Grabban is close to a firstteam return and will provide a different dimension to the Sunderland attack.
Grabban (pictured) has been missing since the 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest last month, but he could be in contention to make tomorrow’s matchday squad at home to QPR as Grayson’s attacking op t i ons steadily improve.
Grayson said of the Bournemouth loanee: “He’s making good progress, he’s not too far away.
“I think Lewis proved in the first five, six weeks of the season that he’s a good player. The level that he’s played at, the money he’s gone for. He slotted into the team really well, got some goals, and he’s a different kind of striker to the ones we’ve got – Vaughany, Gooch and Watmore. Different type of players will help for different games.”
Grayson has had a clean bill of health from those players returning from international duty, though a late decision will be made on Bryan Oviedo’s involvement with the left-back arriving back on Wearside as late as last night.
“McGeady, O’Shea are back in good spirits, Jonny Williams is back in less good spirits!” Grayson said, referring to Ireland’s crucial victory over Wales.
“Lamine (Kone) is back, Didier (Ndong) is back, and we are waiting for Bryan Oviedo to land – he will be in a buoyant mood after Costa Rica qualified for the World Cup.
“As it stands, everybody who went away has come back in one piece and should be available for selection.
“Duncan has had another 45 minutes (for the Under23s), Paddy McNair played 45 on his comeback as well, and Josh Maja is back on the grass doing work with the first team.
“Maja has been out with us all week. Paddy will play on Monday at Arsenal (for the U23s again), potentially next Friday at Everton as well, and then he might be available for us some time after that. “I think Maja will be involved at Arsenal and Everton – it’s a progression.
“It’s just nice to see him back out on the grass and doing work with us. The more players you’ve got available, it gives everyone a lift and it raises the bar. All of a sudden. the players in the team on Saturday will be looking at the bench and thinking,’ I need to play well to stay in the team and keep the shirt’.”
Grayson was impressed with McNair’s comeback against Hertha Berlin.
He said: “He was feeling his way into the game and rightly so when you’ve been out for such a long time.
“It’s a bit different when you’re a striker – you’ve got more freedom to run around, like Duncan. In midfield, it’s tight, competitive – there’s a lot of challenges flying in.
“Hemanagedhisgamereally well and for him to score was a big boost. He showed glimpses of what he can do on the ball, got around the pitch well. He’s only going to get better.
“He sees himself as a boxto-box midfield player. He’s another addition to the squad – he’s powerful, uses the ball well, hence why he’s an international who came here for decent money.”
Up for it: Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole makes his presence felt in the 2-2 draw at Preston a fortnight ago. Picture by Frank Reid. 12 Sunderland have won 12 of their 32 league matches against QPR, who have triumphed 13 times, with seven draws. The first ever league meeting was as recent as 1968.