Simon Grayson relects on time at Leeds United and pinpoints what Sunderland must do better tonight

Simon Grayson in his Leeds manager days
Simon Grayson in his Leeds manager days
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Tonight’s game hold a special resonance for Simon Grayson, a boyhood Leeds fan who had a significant impact on the club’s modern history.

Grayson lifted his side out of League One and looked to be pushing for promotion before being sacked.

Grayson takes on his former side on Saturday evening

Grayson takes on his former side on Saturday evening

His fourth league game as Sunderland boss sees a reunion and he is well aware of the rivarly between the two sides.

“I’ve taken all the 1973 FA Cup final pictures down this week because of my affinity with Leeds – I’m joking, of course!” he said.

“It has played a massive part in this club’s history, as much as it hurts a lot of people from the Leeds area.

“Both Sunderland and Leeds are massive football clubs and these are the games you want to be involved in as a player, and as a manager, in front of the TV cameras.”

Grayson has obvious regrets over his departure but is focused on the task at hand and wants his side to use possession better than they did at Hillsborough on Wednesday night.

He said: “We won promotion from League One and we had a really good squad at the time.

“Up to the window, we were second in the league and it looked like we might go up again but we will fell away a bit.

“We had some good players coming through – Gradel, Snodgrass, Howson, Becchio, Schmeichel, to mention a few. They have all gone on to have good careers.

“We had a good group, but it is just part of the history books – what nearly was, what might have been.

“I’m here now to try and do a job and beat them tomorrow,” he added.

“I watched them against Fulham on Tuesday night so I’ve seen them first hand. I’ve got a rough idea but like any manager, he can change the system and personnel at any time.

“It goes back to what we do, we’ve got to keep the ball probably a bit better than we did on Wednesday night, we had some good possession and gave it away sloppily at times. We want to give it a go and try and get three points.”