GRAYSON THE RIGHT MAN BUT IT’S A LONG ROAD
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.