Prior to our game this coming weekend against Barnsley, Sunderland manager Simon Grayson held his usual pre-match press conference with the media today, and he had plenty to say on a whole host of topics ranging from transfers to team selection.
Grayson’s side are looking to avenge their defeat against Leeds United last Saturday with a league win over the Tykes, who have lost three of their opening four games of this Championship campaign and are on the back of a frustrating loss themselves having fallen at the feet of local rivals Sheffield United last weekend.
The Yorkshire club, managed by former Sunderland defender Paul Heckingbottom, have earned plaudits in recent seasons having cultivated a fantastic group of young players that have gone on to do well so far in their young careers. John Stones, Alfie Mawson and Conor Hourihane earned their stripes at Oakwell before moving on elsewhere and it is to be expected that Barnsley will field an energetic and vibrant young team this weekend, one which Simon Grayson will be wary of taking for granted.
Here are the best bits taken from this afternoon’s presser.
On Robert Snodgrass:
We have been linked with a lot of players over this month or so and we don't really talk about individuals too much but we are in the market for good footballers and people who are going to make us better.
Snodgrass became available or is still available we would like to talk to him. We have other targets as well that we are talking to as well.
On limited funds:
That is one of the reasons I was brought to the club. I am used to dealing with not so big budgets but ultimately my recruitment has been really good.
We have to sign players who are hungry and coming for the right reasons.
On Ndong leaving:
When asked if an approach has been made:
Not that I am aware of.
He is a key player for us… We want to keep him.
On sales and replacements:
That is part and parcel of our job. I have got a list on my desk this morning thats been updated - it gets updated on a daily basis.
We have got plenty of targets in every position. Players could be bought and sold in every other position we’ve got.
On the domino effect:
We have plenty of targets for every position. We would be foolish not to be prepared. We are not foolish. The Premier League will get their deals done and then players become surplus to requirements. Everybody is then scrambling around.
Will the squad be stronger by the end of the window?
Honestly I haven't got a clue. Every club is vulnerable still.
We are in the same market as everybody. While it's still open anybody could be sold, brought to the club. Other clubs might feel that they are vulnerable with the players that we’re after as well.
Will we be stronger? I like to think we will be.
On his past record:
It’s just something I have been used to doing. I've not had loads of money to spend. I left Preston with spending just over £1 million pound, and now the squad is probably worth £15-20 million now. That is what I have done. Trying to recruit players and develop properly on the training pitch and make them better. That will be the case here.
On selection headaches:
Ruiter or Steele?
We want competition at full back areas, and right across the pitch. Robbin did well pre season, did well the other night. Jason has done as well in the games so far, apart from the celtic game where the team didn't cover itself in glory. Its nice to have competition for players.