SUNDERLAND striker Danny Graham is likely to play in Hull’s pre-season friendly against Sheffield Wednesday tonight, after signing a season-long loan deal with the Tigers.
The 27-year-old flew out to Portugal yesterday to complete a move which should see him spend the entire 2013-14 campaign at the KC Stadium – although Sunderland do have a recall clause, if necessary, for January.
And should Graham perform well for Steve Bruce’s Tigers, the newly-promoted club have first option on making the move a permanent one.
That is the same agreement they had in place with former Black Cat Ahmed Elmohamady, who joined Hull in a £2m permanent deal this summer after successfully helping the club gain promotion to the Premier League in his own season-long loan.
Graham is pencilled in to play some part in tonight’s friendly against the Owls in Albufeira on the Algarve, where Bruce has his training base.
And the forward is likely to be keen on playing, in order to start putting the disappointing Sunderland chapter of his career behind him.
Graham was signed from Swansea for £5million in January by Martin O’Neill with the hope that if anything happened to leading goalscorer Steven Fletcher, the Tynesider would step in with the goals to fire Sunderland to safety.
As it turned out, Fletcher did suffer an injury which ruled him out for the run-in, but Graham was unable to find the back of the net in any of the 13 games he played in.
By the time the campaign came to an end, the striker’s goal drought had extended to more than 940 minutes.
New head coach Paolo Di Canio tried to talk Graham up in the seven games he oversaw at the end of the season.
But clearly the Italian decided he would prefer to go down another route this term, rather than pin his hopes on Graham coming good.
After agreeing the move, Graham said: “I’d spoken to the manager at Sunderland and been told that I wasn’t part of his plans.
“I know I’m coming to a good club with a top manager, a fantastic stadium and some very good players.
“When the chance came to sign here on loan, I jumped at it.”