How will Sunderland fare under Simon Grayson?

Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) previews Simon Grayson and Sunderland ahead of the upcoming 2017/18 Championship season.

Background

Sunderland were finally put out of their misery after four years residing almost permanently in the Premier League drop zone. The appointment of a downtrodden David Moyes was the final straw as the Black Cats lost 26 out of 38 matches, finishing 16 points adrift of safety. Now they turn to Simon Grayson in what promises to be a turbulent transitional period replenishing the squad and trying to rid themselves of a lethargic culture. Ellis Short was ready to sell-up in the summer but couldn’t find a serious buyer.

Personality

Grayson looks like the ideal man for the job on Wearside because he is the ultimate quick-fix exponent. He has remarkable observation skills and learns from his environment as he goes, making progress from one week to the next by identifying the next immediate problem at hand and dealing with it swiftly and decisively. He doesn’t allow himself to become confused or distracted by ambiguity. He takes what he has - rather than what he would like - and generally finds a practical course of action for most issues.

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Verdict

A rocky road lies ahead for the Black Cats and we can expect Grayson to deliver some pretty brutal assessments between now and Christmas. If he comes through the other side matching consecutive 11th-placed finishes in his last two seasons at Preston, then that should probably constitute a positive first year in charge. If Short finds a buyer, sparking renewed takeover talk, then Grayson’s position would be undermined, weakening his hand in the battle for supremacy over the dressing room.

Prediction: mid-table

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