Source: Lewis Grabban on Twitter
Sunderland’s exit from the Premier League last season came as no surprise tothose who follow the club. After years of flirting with the drop, the arrivalof David Moyes instilled a negative atmosphere at the Stadium of Light thatturned evermore bitter as the calamitous term unfolded.
Despite having a 15-goal striker (Jermaine Defoe) at their disposal, a lackof other attacking options, combined with negative tactics and defensivefrailty, eventually sunk the Black Cats. In fact, only toothless Middlesbroughscored less goals than Moyes’ men.
With the former Everton boss now longgone, the northeast club must now set about finding a route back to the topflight. But so far it looks farfetched at best to suggest they can follow inthe footsteps of the likes of Newcastle United and bounce back at the firstattempt. The early signs do not look good, with Paddy Power currently having thempriced at 25/1 to earn promotion at the time of writing.
In order to bring some much-needed firepower to their campaign since the departureof Defoe to AFC Bournemouth, new boss Simon Grayson has turned to strikerLewis Grabban who has moved on loan in the opposite direction from the SouthCoast club.
By @cfcunofficial (Chelsea Debs), CC BY-SA 2.0 via WikimediaCommons
The 29-year-old striker failed to make an impact when he returned to theCherries from Norwich in 2015 and had limited impact during his half-year loanspell at Reading last term. However, between 2013 and 2015 he bagged 34 goalsin 80 starts in the Championship and has already netted three times in hisfirst seven appearances for the Wearside club including two at his old clubNorwich. Unfortunately, a hamstring injury picked up against Nottingham Foresthas ruled him out for a month and Sunderland are now without a league win in nineand sat just one place above bottom.
With just seven goals to show for their first eight games, it is clear thatSunderland are once again struggling to create and take their chances. And aslast season showed, having a prolific striker at your disposal does notguarantee you anything if the quality throughout the team and the standard ofcoaching is not up to scratch. However, the return of Grabban in the next couple of weeks just after seeing Duncan Watmore return to the senior fold should be nothing but a boost.
While Grayson may be relying on the striker to get them the goals, it willalso be the decisions of the gaffer himself that will decide if he and the teamas a whole thrives of not. So far, the manager’s best achievements have come atLeague One level, so there are still doubts over whether he has the credentialsto make a success of the club in the Championship.
With so many games still to play, there is plenty of time to turn thingsaround but the absence of Grabban over the next few weeks will be a huge blow.They did manage to earn a respectabledraw at Hull City and in their last away game against Preston, however it’snot enough. Sunderland need to start grinding out some positive results if theyare going to get their season back on track. Quickly.