Jack Ross issues positive update on injury-free Sunderland striker Will Grigg
Will Grigg has been backed to make a big impact at Sunderland this season - with the striker over his ankle injury.
Sunderland splashed out £3million on Grigg in the January window but he failed to set League One alight due to poor form and an ankle problem.
Grigg - who scored just five goals following his big-money move from Wigan Athletic - is now injury-free and more settled on Wearside, according to Jack Ross, who says he looks ‘stronger and fresher’.
Sunderland are targeting promotion back to the Championship at the second attempt following their League One play-off final heartache against Charlton Athletic.
And Grigg will again be a focal point for the team in their quest for promotion.
On the ankle problems that hampered the start to his Sunderland career, Ross said: “Even towards the end of last season that was long behind him.
“I think he has looked more settled even in this short pre-season period.
“Joining a club mid-season is more challenging than at the beginning of the season.
“He feels more settled on and off the pitch.
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“He has looked stronger and fresher than last season so will hopefully benefit from that as well this season.”
Grigg has previously said he is confident the Sunderland squad can handle the big expectations on them and win promotion - and he is enjoying working under Ross.
“He's been brilliant,” said Grigg.
“I heard some really good things about him before I signed and he was a massive part in that.
“I've been really impressed with everything about him - his man-management skills, the way he gets the team going, and his training on the training pitches has been top drawer.”
The Northern Ireland international played the second 45 minutes in the friendly win over South Shields last Thursday, with strike partner Charlie Wyke playing the first half against the Mariners.
The pair are part of the Sunderland squad that is set to jet out to Portugal for a training camp and play two friendly fixtures.
The Black Cats face LigaPro side Benfica B on Thursday and Primeira Liga team Belenenses on Saturday, July 20.