It is fair to say Sunderland haven’t exactly enjoyed the greatest start to life outside the Premier League. The Black Cats sit 23rd in the table after one win in 11, and the pressure is mounting on manager Simon Grayson ahead of this weeks visit of Queens Park Rangers. But the key question following the international break is who deserves a chance in the starting xi and who should be dropped.
Duncan Watmore – The young striker/winger has recently returned from a hellish nine month injury layoff to make his comeback off the bench against Preston. Watmore is a hardworking forward, willing to run himself into the ground for the team, something Sunderland have been missing so far this season. Sunderland have struggled in front of goal so far, with new signings Lewis Grabban and James Vaughan failing to hit the ground running, maybe the answer could be in the shape of Watmore, who offers a different problem with his pace and direct approach.
Jonny Williams – In the fifth loan of his career, the 24 year old has not been able to impress Crystal Palace bosses enough to trouble the first team at Selhurst Park, but is experienced at Championship level. Best deployed behind the striker, the playmaker is comfortable in possession and has a great eye for a pass. A regular in the Welsh team, (even playing at Euro 16) Williams is a classy player capable of beating his man and producing quality with both feet. However despite his 5″5 stature, he also has a combative side which is vital in the second tier, allowing him to compete and carry out the dirty side of the game.
Callum McManaman – Deadline day signing McManaman ended his frustrating spell in the Midlands by signing for Sunderland. A player with Premier League experience and an FA Cup winners medal (as well as winning man of the match in the final) he was a great coup for Grayson. A pacey, tricky winger comfortable on either wing, but more at home on the right where he can beat the fullback and whip dangerous crosses into the box. As well as this he can also be a goal threat himself, chipping in with important goals as can be seen from the last time he played regularly at Wigan. So far this campaign he has already provided two assists in the five games he has played, and could be a crucial player for Sunderland if they are to avoid the dreaded relegation scrap they currently find themselves in.