Sunderland AFC briefing: Martin Bain on Ellis Short plus how close is Paddy McNair to a first team return?

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Paddy McNair is edging closer to a first team recall but manager Simon Grayson insists he won’t be rushed back.

The versatile 22-year-old hasn’t played for Sunderland’s first team in more than 10 months after rupturing his cruciate ligament in a 3-0 win against Hull City last November but he is edging closer to a return having made three appearances for the Under-23 side in recent weeks.

Paddy McNair in action for Sunderland Under-23s.

Paddy McNair in action for Sunderland Under-23s.

McNair returned against Hertha Berlin in the Premier League International Cup and has since featured for the second string against Arsenal and Everton.

Second bottom Sunderland host high-flying Bristol City at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, the Robbins head into the game on the back of their 4-1 Carabao Cup win over Premier League Crystal Palace.

When asked when McNair will return to first team action, Grayson said: "We’ll have to wait and see.

"We have to be very careful that we don’t rush him back and that he is in a good situation physically and mentally as well.

"It is great to see him out training and playing, he got more minutes for the Under-23s against Everton.

"The more time he is playing and training will obviously move him closer to the first team."

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Simon Grayson backs incentive ahead of Bristol City visit:

Sunderland have released details of their ‘Kids for a Quid’ offer for the visit of Bristol City.

Fans can buy up to two under-16 tickets for £1 each with any adult ticket, with the offer valid for all general admission areas.

Grayson said: "It is another incentive from the football club to bring supporters back to the club."

The offer is also valid for season card holders and those who have already purchased an adult ticket. Tickets must be bought in advance from the ticket office, over phone or online.

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Martin Bain on Ellis Short and his Sunderland involvement:

Sunderland chief executive Martin Bain insists that Ellis Short is 'emotionally invested' in Sunderland's fortunes, despite his reduced presence on Wearside.

"Maybe because Ellis in the past, before I was here, has spent an awful lot of money on players, there's been a more significant visible investment, if you like, and Ellis was maybe getting around a little bit more," said Bain.

"The fact that he's not around so much and the fact that fans don't see the level of spending on the squad that they're used to and our performances are where they are then there's an automatic assumption that the owner is disengaged, that he doesn't care about the football club.

"Nothing could be further from the truth. He interacts with me and I believe he's emotionally invested in Sunderland."

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