Watmore's Absence has been a setback - now he's back with Grabban soon to follow

It's been a season of struggle so far for Sunderland in the Championship and injuries have played a huge part in the mounting problems on Wearside. Simon Grayson took charge in the summer and was tasked with turning things around, but so far it hasn't gone according to plan for the Yorkshireman.

 

Source: Talksport via Twitter

The former Leeds boss hasn't had much luck with injuries, losing new signings Lewis Grabban, Callum McManaman and Aidan McGeady in the opening couple of weeks. Whilst arguably the most significant absentee has been Duncan Watmore.

The Manchester-born winger arrived on Wearside from Altrincham aged just 19 and opened his account during Sunderland's 1-3 defeat at home to Norwich on 15 August 2015, the game being his league debut. He finally featured under Grayson after recovering from injury, making a positive impact during Sunderland’s 2-2 draw away against Preston North End on Saturday.

Goals from Sunderland’s front men dried up further after Grabban lasted just 37 minutes against Nottingham Forest, sustaining a hamstring injury that has kept him out of the squad since September 9. Whilst far from prolific, Grabban offered a constant threat and his presence is sorely missed in the side. James Vaughan netted against Hull City but has been even less impressive in front of goal since joining from Bury. The former Everton striker is equally as injury-prone.

 

Source: Norwich City Fans via Twitter

Watmore hasn’t had a significant period in the starting eleven since the 2015/16 season, with injury ruling him out for the majority of last campaign. Whilst he failed to get too many people excited during this period, his pace and willingness will surely help Sunderland as they struggle to cope with life in the Championship.

Grayson himself has struggled with the pressure of turning the club around in recent weeks and fans' patience is beginning to wear thin. The club appear to be stuck in a downward trajectory and even a Championship specialist such as Grayson appears to be running out of ideas on how to reverse the side's fortunes.

He's averaging 0.6 points per game so far, which is fewer than David Moyes (0.72), Paolo Di Canio (0.92) and Dick Advocaat (0.95). The latter was extremely popular with fans for helping maintain their Premier League status at the end of the 2014-15 season. He is currently in temporary charge of the Netherlands following the dismissal of Danny Blind, although he is struggling to get a tune out of the Oranje and they were recently hammered at the hands of France as predicted by Oddschecker, who suggested siding with Les Bleus as they took on Advocaat's men at the end of August.

Watmore’s return is likely to improve the side's potency in the final third and Grayon’s options will improve further with Grabban scheduled to return around mid-October. The remainder of the side also need to pull their weight if Sunderland are to avoid back-to-back relegations.

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