Pressure well and truly on Sunderland players ahead of crunch away games at Ipswich and Preston

Simon Grayson
Simon Grayson
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The games are coming thick and fast now, as Sunderland face two tough away games in four days against Ipswich tonight quickly followed by Preston North End on Saturday.

Both games see a manager facing his old club with ex-Sunderland boss Mick McCarthy in the Ipswich dugout, while Simon Grayson goes back to Preston in the following game - a fixture he probably ringed as soon as he took the Sunderland job.

The Ipswich game also sees another link to Sunderland, with Martyn Waghorn now playing at Portman Road where he has hit the ground running with four goals already to his name.

He was linked with a return back to Wearside before the deadline but I’m just hoping he is not another ex-Sunderland player that comes back to haunt us after Daryl Murphy and David Meyler scored goals recently that have cost us goals.

However, the game that will mean that bit more for Grayson will be Saturday’s against his former club Preston North End and it will be interesting to see the reception he gets from the Deepdale faithful.

He did after all quit the Lancashire club when offered the opportunity to manage Sunderland, a relegated club in freefall but one with huge potential.

His acceptance of Ellis Short’s offer shows his ambition as there were plenty who distanced themselves from the job and the easy option for Grayson would have probably been to stay put.

So when he did leave Deepdale, he must have believed and calculated that he was taking a step up; bigger club, better facilities, huge fanbase etc but unfortunately that hasn’t translated to the league table at the moment with Preston currently well above us in the table and I am sure their fans won’t be slow in reminding him of that.

I am hoping Jonny Williams and Callum McManaman will be available as they were badly missed against Cardiff City and will definitely improve the starting line-up, if fit.

Sunderland’s under-whelming start to the season and lowly league position means the pressure will be well and truly on the Sunderland players in these two away games but judging by their home record maybe it is better they are playing them away from Wearside.