Simon Grayson has this advice for under-fire Phil Parkinson ahead of Sunderland return
Simon Grayson has warned Sunderland and Phil Parkinson that they have no ‘divine right’ to get out of League One.
Grayson, who endured a forgettable spell at the Stadium of Light in 2017, will return to Wearside with Blackpool this weekend.
And ahead of his first visit to the Stadium of Light since his dismissal, the 49-year-old has provided Parkinson with some advice over how to guide the Black Cats out of League One – while also serving him with a warning.
“Nobody has a divine right to get out of the division you’re in, it happens for a reason,” he said, speaking to the Blackpool Gazette.
“There are other clubs to a similar sort of size to Sunderland that have stayed in League One for many years - Leeds United being the biggest example I know. But you’ve also got Man City, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United, the list is endless.
“Just because you’re a big club with nice facilities, a big stadium and a lot of supporters doesn’t guarantee you drop into a division and just get out of it.
“You have to have a lot of things go your way. You’ve got to work hard, you’ve got to have unity within the group and you’ve got to have supporters on side.
“You’ve also got to deal with the expectancy level that comes with a sizeable club like Sunderland and how it’s a cup final for the opposition, because that’s what it is more times than not.
“People will like to go to the Stadium of Light, see the surroundings and see a big feather in their cap if they manage to get a result up there.”
Grayson is likely to get a lukewarm reception upon his return to Sunderland, but the Blackpool boss is far from concerned with his own personal situation.
“Honestly it doesn’t bother me,” he admitted.
“I wasn’t there long enough to build up too many relationships anyway.
“I’m just focused on my team and what we need to go and do. It honestly has no extra significance this game compared to going to Gillingham, to Wimbledon, Wycombe or wherever.
“It’s about what we can do as a team.”