Max Power reveals Will Grigg is back 'on fire' for Sunderland after testing start to the season

Max Power has backed Will Grigg to hit the goal trail for Sunderland - having revealed the striker has been ‘on fire’ during training.

Tuesday, 27th August 2019, 06:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 27th August 2019, 10:59 am

And the Black Cats’ midfielder has urged fans to continue backing Grigg as he seeks to kick-start his career on Wearside.

The striker, who played alongside Power during a successful spell at Wigan Athletic, is yet to get off the mark for the season despite some promising displays.

It looked for all accounts that Grigg would net against AFC Wimbledon, only to see a second half effort flash wide from inside the area.

Max Power has backed Will Grigg to hit the goal trail at Sunderland

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But Power believes a lack of goals shouldn’t belittle the 28-year-old’s all-round contribution, and believes it is only a matter of time until he shows the goalscoring nous that made Sunderland splash the cash for his signature in January.

“I feel for Griggy a little bit at the moment,” he admitted.

“The chance had on Saturday, he did so well to create it. He made a great run, got into the box and you’re expecting the net to ripple.

“It’s not quiet happening for him in front of goal, but I think his contribution is there.

“Certainly at Rochdale away, he came on and changed the game for us. On Saturday, I thought he played really well when he came on again.

“Strikers go through these spells and I think it’s important sometimes to realise that he’s only human and he’ll go through these spells.

“I trained with him this morning [Monday] and his finishing was brilliant. He scored umpteen goals and people will say ‘it’s only training’, but it’s nice to see him scoring chances like he did this morning.

“I know he’s only one goal away from a good run.”

Naturally, with goals having been a struggle to come by, there has been plenty of talk about Grigg failing to justify his £3million price tag.

Such pressure, accompanied with the added expectation of playing for a club the size of Sunderland in the third tier, has put the striker under some intense pressure.

But it’s a pressure that Power believes Grigg will grow to relish - and has backed him to replicate his stunning form from training into a competitive environment.

“I knew it was a big club before I moved up here, but I try to explain to people now that you won’t realise how big it is until you’re up here and you experience it itself.

“Every player is different. Some hit the ground running and others take longer to adjust.

“If you look at Luke O’Nien last season, he probably didn’t get off to the start he wanted but as the season went on he went from strength-to-strength and is a firm fan favourites.

“I think for Will, it’s a new experience. The clubs he’s played for are nowhere near as big as Sunderland.

“I think sometimes the price tag will be brought up and all the expectation that goes with it.

“I know Griggy isn’t too far away from turning around.

“As a striker, they go through these spells but he’s training hard. He was on fire in training this morning - if you pardon the pun!“Once he gets that first goal he’ll be up and running.

“With strikers, they’re paid to score goals and if they’re not scoring goals it gets highlighted,” he continued.

“But I think he’ll come through it. He’s a really good trainer, he’s a good lad and the good thing is he wants to do well here.

“He’s desperate to do well and hopefully it comes sooner rather than later.

“I’ve seen him do it over the years and it’s tough. We all go through spells as footballers and disappointment is so close sometimes, it’s just around the corner.

“But if he goes and scores two this week then suddenly Will Grigg is back.

“That’s how quickly things can change - so hopefully one goes in off his face and gets him off the mark.”

It was noticeable that, when introduced as a second half substitute against Wimbledon, Grigg received a warm reception from the Sunderland faithful.

They remain fiercely behind the striker despite his woes in front of goal - and Power has urged them to continue their support of the Northern Irish international in the coming weeks, having seen the effect their ‘love’ had on fellow frontman Charlie Wyke.

“Hopefully everyone sticks with him,” he added.

“It can be a lonely place sometimes on a football pitch when things aren’t going for you.

“Going back to the relationship I’ve got with Charlie, I’ve seen him quite low at times last season when he’s not scoring.

“To be fair, the fans got behind him and really backed him and I think that’s an example of showing that when you get behind players and give them a bit of love, hopefully it helps.

“Confidence is a massive thing in football. Once Griggy gets that first goal, I’ve seen him do it numerous times over the past four years.

“He still has everyone’s full backing and hopefully it comes sooner rather than later for him.”