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Sunderland: Phil Smith debates Will Grigg’s confidence after Oxford absence

Sunderland: Phil Smith debates Will Grigg’s confidence after Oxford absence - Sunderland News

Sunderland Echo writer Phil Smith has given his thoughts on Will Grigg’s absence from the 2-0 win over Oxford United, touching on whether or not his confidence will be affected.

After arriving on Wearside in January 2019, Grigg has not had the best of times with the Black Cats. With his £4m move from Wigan documented via Netflix series Sunderland Til I Die, the 29-year-old’s struggles have not seen an improvement, seeing him contribute with just three goals in all competitions in the 2019/20 campaign, and it remains to be seen what impact he will have this season.

Grigg played a large part in the opening day League One draw with Bristol Rovers but failed to find the back of the net and he was left as an unused sub against Oxford at the weekend.

Touching on the striker’s absence during his latest Q&A with Sunderland Echo, Smith gave his verdict on whether or not Grigg would have confidence issues moving forward. He said:

“The centre-forward position remains, I think, the biggest area of uncertainty as we move into the rest of the season.

“At the beginning of pre-season, it had seemed difficult to see a way back into the side, at least in terms of having a prominent, regular role, for Grigg.

“One of the most encouraging aspects of those games, then, was to see the striker looking sharp, pressing aggressively and seemingly enjoying the service from his team-mates.

“For him to end up on the bench within a game has definitely been a disappointment.

“Grigg didn’t have a particularly good game against Bristol Rovers last Saturday but you couldn’t say the service was excellent either.

“Parkinson is clearly very keen on getting Graham into the side and while he still isn’t match fit, he was an outlet on Saturday.

“From what we’ve heard from Parkinson so far, I expect to see Graham get more and more minutes.

“It is definitely a shame as far as Grigg has concerned.”

Sunderland face Peterborough this coming weekend in League One, with the Black Cats in fifth as they welcome Posh to the Stadium of Light.

Grigg faces a challenge to turn his form around at Sunderland this season and you have to wonder whether he can achieve that mission.

If Parkinson continues to overlook him in forthcoming games, it may be difficult to see how the Northern Ireland striker comes good at the Stadium of Light.

Do you think Grigg will struggle for game-time after his absence against Oxford? Let us know your views in the comments section below…


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