Simon Grayson to make late Duncan Watmore decision and hopes key Sunderland players will return

Simon Grayson will be guided by his medical staff as Duncan Watmore edges closer to a first team return.

Monday, 25th September 2017, 3:14 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 11:12 am
Watmore has made a successful return in Sunderland's youth side

The popular forward is not expected to be in a position to start a game until after the upcoming international break, but has recently made a successful return to U23 action.

After scoring on his comeback against Manchester City, Watmore completed 70 promising minutes against West Ham United on Sunday afternoon, watched by an impressed Black Cats boss.

Grayson continues to urge caution but has not ruled out him returning to the squad this week.

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He said: “I’d like to [have him back]! I’d have liked to have done so last Saturday, and before that.

“I’ve got a meeting this afternoon and that will be one of the things we discuss.

“We’ll just have to wait and see.

“He played yesterday, did well and looked a threat, and showed everybody what he is capable of doing,” he added.

“It would be nice to have him back, but we have to be careful with his livelihood rather than think short-term about the next two games.

“But if I am given the all-clear, I will certainly take that invitation to have him back in the squad.”

Even if he did return, Watmore would be used sparingly but Grayson admitted the sight of the youngster back in the matchday 18 would be a massive boost for everyone connected to the club.

He said: “There’s a possibility of that, definitely.

“He is an infectious character in the dressing room, and also when the fans see such a popular and important player back in the squad it can have a big effect on everybody.

“I’d love to have him back Tuesday-Saturday, but we’ll wait and see.”

Grayson also hopes he will be able to call on a greater range of attacking options for the trip to Portman Road on Tuesday night.

Aiden McGeady came off the bench against Cardiff City as he returned from a hamstring injury, while Callum McManaman and Jonny Williams were last-minute absentees through injury and illness respectively.

Billy Jones was also ruled out shortly before kick-off and Grayson hopes the trio will be available.

He said: “Williams and McManaman were making progress yesterday.

“Jonny we have to be careful with because he fell ill on Thursday night and hasn’t done any work since then.

“Callum is making progress, and Billy Jones is as well.”

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy is likely to rotate his side for the game, which could mean a start for former Black Cat Martyn Waghorn.

Waghorn has four goals in eight appearances so far after his summer move from Rangers.