Ruiter or Steele? McGeady and McManaman? Simon Grayson on the big Sunderland selection debates

Sunderland keeper Jason Steele. Picture by Frank Reid
Sunderland keeper Jason Steele. Picture by Frank Reid
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Simon Grayson has again admitted that neither of his goalkeepers are performing to their maximum level,.

But the Sunderland boss says he is determined to try to establish some consistency and continuity in selection.

Grayson has persisted with Jason Steele in recent weeks to the frustration of many supporters, and looks likely to do so again today for the visit of Bristol City.

A number of his other selections have also come under fire, including the continued presence of Lee Cattermole in central midfield, but Grayson has said his decisions are made after taking a number of factors into consideration.

He said: “I would put the goalkeepers into the same category as some of the other players – neither of them have been on top of their game.

“I could say the same of some of the strikers and the wide players as well.

“But I’m trying to get consistency in terms of the team selection.

“Nobody wants to keep taking players out and putting them back in because you just go back to square one.

“I want players to play to the best of their ability and make it difficult for me to leave them out.

“It’s [selection] also based on what you see on the training pitch every day – who’s performing well, who’s catching your eye, who you think will affect the game with their positive attitude.

“You take those things into consideration.

“It’s alright people saying they would do this, that, and the other, but the coaching staff and I see them every day. We share our opinions, and then put together who will play.

“It’s a team effort and it’s based on a lot of things, not just matchday situations.

“We’re getting players available now and trying to find partnerships that will work all over the pitch, whether it is a full-back working with his winger, central midfielders that complement each other, strikers who work well together.

“It’s all about finding things that you think will work.

“Catts, for example, brings lots of good things to the team, as do other midfielders who do other things that maybe he can’t.”

The availability of Jonny Williams and Callum McManaman for the Stadium of Light clash with Bristol City gives the Sunderland boss the opportunity to name his most attacking side yet.

Grayson has promised to give his forward players the freedom to excite, but he is likely to err against naming them all in an ultra-attacking set-up.

He said: “Now they are all available, I can’t fit them all in at once.

“But we’re looking at all the key players who are going to help us get results.

“I would say Callum, despite this little niggle he had earlier in the week, is probably as fit as we have had him.

“He’s certainly in consideration to start, if I choose to do that.

“We’ve brought these players in because they are exciting, they will get people on the edge of their seats, and other teams will worry about them.

“That’s what I want to do – put exciting teams together.”