It's been a season of struggle so far for Sunderland in the Championship andinjuries have played a huge part in the mounting problems on Wearside. SimonGrayson took charge in the summer and was tasked with turning things around,but so far it hasn't gone according to plan for the Yorkshireman.
Source: Talksport via Twitter
The former Leeds boss hasn't had much luck with injuries, losing newsignings Lewis Grabban, Callum McManaman and Aidan McGeady in the openingcouple of weeks. Whilst arguably the most significant absentee has been DuncanWatmore.
The Manchester-born winger arrived on Wearside from Altrincham aged just 19and opened his account during Sunderland's 1-3 defeat at home to Norwich on 15 August2015, the game being his league debut. He finally featured under Grayson afterrecovering from injury, making a positive impact during Sunderland’s 2-2 drawaway against Preston North End on Saturday.
Goals from Sunderland’s front men dried up further after Grabban lasted just37 minutes against Nottingham Forest, sustaininga hamstring injury that has kept him out of the squad since September9. Whilst far from prolific, Grabban offered a constant threat and his presenceis sorely missed in the side. James Vaughan netted against Hull City but hasbeen even less impressive in front of goal since joining from Bury. The formerEverton striker is equally as injury-prone.
Source: Norwich City Fans via Twitter
Watmore hasn’t had a significant period in the starting eleven since the2015/16 season, with injury ruling him out for the majority of last campaign. Whilsthe failed to get too many people excited during this period, his pace andwillingness will surely help Sunderland as they struggle to cope with life inthe Championship.
Grayson himself has struggledwith the pressure of turning the club around in recent weeks and fans'patience is beginning to wear thin. The club appear to be stuck in a downwardtrajectory and even a Championship specialist such as Grayson appears to berunning out of ideas on how to reverse the side's fortunes.
He's averaging 0.6 points per game so far, which is fewer than David Moyes(0.72), Paolo Di Canio (0.92) and Dick Advocaat (0.95). The latter wasextremely popular with fans for helping maintain their Premier League status atthe end of the 2014-15 season. He is currently in temporary charge of theNetherlands following the dismissal of Danny Blind, although he is strugglingto get a tune out of the Oranje and they were recently hammered at the hands ofFrance aspredicted by Oddschecker, who suggested siding with Les Bleus as theytook on Advocaat's men at the end of August.
Watmore’s return is likely to improve the side's potency in the final thirdand Grayon’s options will improve further with Grabban scheduled to returnaround mid-October. The remainder of the side also need to pull their weight ifSunderland are to avoid back-to-back relegations.