The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP -

WOULD I put money on Sun­der­land go­ing back up? No chance. I think they’ll suf­fer like As­ton Villa did last sea­son. Sun­der­land have been in freefall for sev­eral years. They’ve had year af­ter year of de­feats and – as mid­fielder Dar­ron Gib­son not-so-sub­tly al­luded to – still have too many play­ers who need to be moved on. When New­cas­tle came down last year, you looked at their squad and thought ‘Yeah, they’re go­ing up’. Does any­one look at the Sun­der­land team and think the same thing? Per­son­ally, I think they’ll be lucky to squeeze into the play­offs. The sign­ings say it all. Ai­den McGeady was ter­rific for Pre­ston and I can see why Si­mon Grayson signed him. James Vaughan and Lewis Grab­ban have points to prove and know the level. But are they play­ers who will fire you out of the Cham­pi­onship? Not for me. On the plus side, Si­mon Grayson is a very good man­ager who un­der­stands the di­vi­sion and has a long track record of suc­cess. What he did on such a tight bud­get at Pre­ston last sea­son re­ally went un­der the radar. He’s ex­actly what Sun­der­land need as they start a long re­build­ing process. If they’d gone down the for­eign road, I think they would be in se­ri­ous trou­ble.

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