Grabban may be fit for QPR clash

MATCH FACTS OP­PO­SI­TION BOSS HIS­TORY LES­SON

Sunderland Echo - - Football -

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.

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