'One of the most talented players in the division': Simon Grayson delivers verdict on Sunderland squad as Fleetwood boss aims to increase Cats’ pressure
Fleetwood boss Simon Grayson says Aiden McGeady is the most talented player he’s worked with – but believes there is more pressure on Sunderland than during his spell at the club.
Grayson managed the Black Cats in 2017 but was sacked after just 18 games on Wearside, before the club’s relegation from the Championship.
The 51-year-old was appointed Fleetwood boss in January, following spells with Blackpool and Bradford, and will now come up against Sunderland at Highbury Stadium in League One this weekend.
Grayson is well aware of the threats Sunderland will pose, particularly from McGeady who he worked with at Preston, and is a player who signed for the Black Cats during the manager’s brief spell on Wearside.
“Big football clubs attract good players and they have plenty in that department,” said Grayson when asked about Sunderland.
“I think McGeady is going to be probably one of the most talented players in the division. I have gone on record many times saying he is probably the most talented player that I’ve worked with because that’s what he can do.”
“That is a test for whichever individual is playing against him at the weekend and there are probably only two or three players who were there from when I was there.
Grayson also worked with centre-back Bailey Wright at Preston, and the Australian international is expected to come into the side to replace the suspended Tom Flanagan, who picked up his fifth yellow card of the season against Accrington Stanley last time out.
Wright is likely to play alongside 17-year-old Callum Doyle, who is on loan from Manchester City and has impressed so far this campaign.
“They have got experience and have gone down the model of a younger group really,” added Grayson. “They have got the boy Doyle from Man City who is held in such high regard.
“Bailey Wright will come into the team who I know from my Preston days but it’s 11 vs 11, it’s not the badge vs the badge.”
Grayson was also asked about the scrutiny he was under when managing a club with Sunderland’s stature.
“It’s part of being a football manager isn’t it,” replied the Fleetwood boss.
“You are scrutinised and you are probably scrutinised by far more people than if you are in another job.
“You are always under scrutiny because that’s your job and that’s what we do. We enjoy it, we hate it, we thrive on it and are used to it all.
“I have managed big clubs apart from Sunderland and you have to deal with the situation.
“There is probably more pressure on Sunderland now than there was when I was there because they should not be in League One and they should be in the Championship at the very least.
“When I was there it was about trying to get out of the Championship and into the Premier League but a club with Sunderland’s stature and size should not be in League One but they are for a reason.”