He’s currently a 5/2 joint second-favourite in the market for the Sunderland job, but all the evidence suggests that Preston North End boss Simon Grayson would be the right man to revive the Black Cats’ fortunes and return them to the Premier League.
Here’s Ladbrokes News’ case for just why we think the PNE boss has to be top of owner Ellis Short’s managerial wish list.
First off, Grayson’s track record is outstanding. He’s secured promotions within the EFL at all four clubs he’s managed – Blackpool, Leeds United, Huddersfield Town and Preston. Oh, and he’s never been relegated as a manager.
Whether Sunderland see him as a stabiliser or a long-term option, he’s a good choice. Grayson has always left clubs in a good position when he’s departed.
His Tangerines side reached the Premier League within 18 months of him leaving the club, while Huddersfield – who he left in 2013 – have now completed their incredible trajectory from fourth-tier to top-tier in just over a decade.
There’s also every reason to believe he’d bring a relatable identity to the Wearside club – something they’ve lacked in recent years, with a slew of managerial changes and failed philosophies.
A son of the North-East, Grayson’s sides are extremely hard-working, fearless and robust, but also know how to entertain. That’s exactly the sort of football Black Cats fans want to see – and a method which has been proven to work in the Championship.
He’d also be likely to spend far more wisely than the club’s last manager, David Moyes. The Scot spent big on failed buys like Papy Djilobodji and Didier N’Dong, as well as unwisely re-signing poor or over-the-hill players he’d previously managed – Darron Gibson, Victor Anichebe, Joleon Lescott…the list goes on.
That’s bad enough in the top-flight, but Sunderland really can’t afford a bad transfer window in the Championship.
Luckily for them, Grayson has an excellent record in the market.
Last year alone, he mined the lower leagues for gems like Tom Barkhuizen (signed from Morecambe) and revived talents left on the scrapheap by bigger clubs, like Callum Robinson (Aston Villa), Marnick Vermijl (Manchester United) and Aiden McGeady (Everton).
That should be music to the ears of Short. As should the fact that Grayson is a far more measured and reliable character than fellow second-favourite Nigel Pearson, or other hotheads in the market like Roy Keane and Aitor Karanka.
Grayson ticks every box. The only question is…what are Sunderland waiting for?
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing