Source: Lewis Grabban on Twitter
Sunderland’s exit from the Premier League last season came as no surprise to
those who follow the club. After years of flirting with the drop, the arrival
of David Moyes instilled a negative atmosphere at the Stadium of Light that
turned evermore bitter as the calamitous term unfolded.
Despite having a 15-goal striker (Jermaine Defoe) at their disposal, a lack
of other attacking options, combined with negative tactics and defensive
frailty, eventually sunk the Black Cats. In fact, only toothless Middlesbrough
scored less goals than Moyes’ men.
With the former Everton boss now long
gone, the northeast club must now set about finding a route back to the top
flight. But so far it looks farfetched at best to suggest they can follow in
the footsteps of the likes of Newcastle United and bounce back at the first
attempt. The early signs do not look good, with Paddy Power currently having them
priced at 25/1 to earn promotion at the time of writing.
In order to bring some much-needed firepower to their campaign since the departure
of Defoe to AFC Bournemouth, new boss Simon Grayson has turned to striker
Lewis Grabban who has moved on loan in the opposite direction from the South
By @cfcunofficial (Chelsea Debs), CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia
The 29-year-old striker failed to make an impact when he returned to the
Cherries from Norwich in 2015 and had limited impact during his half-year loan
spell at Reading last term. However, between 2013 and 2015 he bagged 34 goals
in 80 starts in the Championship and has already netted three times in his
first seven appearances for the Wearside club including two at his old club
Norwich. Unfortunately, a hamstring injury picked up against Nottingham Forest
has ruled him out for a month and Sunderland are now without a league win in nine
and sat just one place above bottom.
With just seven goals to show for their first eight games, it is clear that
Sunderland are once again struggling to create and take their chances. And as
last season showed, having a prolific striker at your disposal does not
guarantee you anything if the quality throughout the team and the standard of
coaching 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 will
also be the decisions of the gaffer himself that will decide if he and the team
as a whole thrives of not. So far, the manager’s best achievements have come at
League One level, so there are still doubts over whether he has the credentials
to make a success of the club in the Championship.
With so many games still to play, there is plenty of time to turn things
around but the absence of Grabban over the next few weeks will be a huge blow.
They did manage to earn a respectable
draw at Hull City and in their last away game against Preston, however it’s
not enough. Sunderland need to start grinding out some positive results if they
are going to get their season back on track. Quickly.