Are Sunderland moving to London? Is the club still for sale? Will Grayson get sacked? Key questions answered
While first-team action has been quiet this week at Sunderland in the international break, there have still been a number of key issues on Wearside.
Rumours over moving the club's hub and training ground to London resurfaced thanks to comments from former Sky Sports presenter Richard Keys, while takeover talks still abounds at Sunderland.
Echo writer Richard Mennear and BBC Newcastle's Nick Barnes took part in a live Q&A where they addressed fans' queries on those issues, plus Simon Grayson's future, Jack Rodwell and Sunderland's season so far.
WHAT ABOUT THOSE LONDON MOVE RUMOURS?
RM: This issue around Sunderland moving their training to London reared its head again this week on the back of Richard Keys' blog. It's nonsense really, there's nothing in it. Sunderland won't be moving down south, it wouldn't make any sense economically.
NB: It's a non-starter. This is a football club that's trying to save money. Why would you suddenly start addressing London prices, having to transport players up and down from Wearside to London? It's just madness - I don't understand why it's been given any credence whatsoever.
A LOT OF QUESTIONS AND ANGER WERE DIRECTED AT ELLIS SHORT. WHAT'S THE LATEST?
NB: The bottom line is that Ellis is going nowhere. Even if there was an interested party, it's not going to happen in the next six weeks, it's not going to happen in the next six months. We are where we are, Simon Grayson has got the money that he's got. The club is not parlous but it's not great.
RM: Officially the club is not for sale but I think you'd be naive to think it isn't if a super offer came in. It's not just the money up front though, it's having the money to run the club in the way that Ellis Short still does.
NB: Ellis Short is still putting money in, people forget that. He is still underwriting the debt.
IS GRAYSON'S JOB UNDER THREAT?
NB: I don't see them replacing Grayson as I don't see results getting so bad on a consistent basis. We saw that with the reaction from the Ipswich game. He addressed issues, Kone being one. His decision-making will be easier now.
HOW IMPORTANT IS PADDY McNAIR'S RETURN?
NB: In many ways McNair's return has been overshadowed by Watmore's. When Sunderland played at Queens Park rangers in the League Cup I was very impressed with him. I thought there's a player who has found his level, and he got two goals. Goals have got to come from midfield and I think McNair could get them. He will give people a bit more flexibility in there.
WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT RODWELL?
RM: He played at Doncaster on Tuesday in the centre of a back three and was at fault for the goal when he came out and lost possession. It just shows where he's at.
NB: It's embarrassing. He didn't stand out against a team that had several 17-year-olds, large numbers of 20-year-olds, had made eight changes. He should be head and shoulders above those players at that level. I just find the whole thing embarrassing. How can Sunderland still be carrying a £60,000 a week player playing in the Checkatrade Trophy, seemingly with no ambition to force himself into the first team. I'd cut your losses, buy out his contract as there's no point carrying a player like that at the football club.
IS KONE ON HIS WAY?
RM: It was interesting that Rodwell played in a sweeper role but you can't really see him playing that position for the first team.
NB: I can only think they played Rodwell there because of the situation with Lamine Kone now could mean you are effectively a centre-back down. Gary Bennett has spoken at length about this and while he feels taking Kone out of the team was necessary because he wasn't playing well, he's the sort of player now who will sulk and look for a move in January. Grayson is maybe wondering if he can bring Rodwell into the fray.
WHAT'S THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE?
NB: I think we may be looking at a prolonged stay in the Championship. Two or three seasons, possibly more as the finance won't be there to build a team. Five years down the line you may have younger players coming through or you may have been able to pick up younger players cheaply who you can turn into good players. That's what a number of Championship teams do.
For the full interview, including more on Kone, Watmore, the Checkatrade Trophy and Jimmy Sinclair, watch the full video above.