RR: Are you annoyed about losing Will Grigg?
TPAN: I’m extremely p*ssed off. I totally get the business side of the decision, but the bottom line of this is that he’s a player who could play a massive role in keeping us up, and keeping him would make a statement to fans and prospective signings.
The new owners have made their intentions clear through this and it’s a sad indictment on the manager that he hasn’t been able to fit him in his side.
Nick Powell’s tweet in reaction to the news says a lot. Powell was head and shoulders above League 1 last year, better than a lot in the championship. He’ll now walk away on a free in the summer, and keeping Grigg was key to getting him to sign a new deal, I think.
RR: What exactly can Sunderland fans expect from him?
TPAN: If you can give him a supply line then you can expect goals. He’s a player who needs to be in the starting line up to be most effective, but isn’t going to create many chances by himself.
That said, the most often missed aspect of his game is his work rate - for an out and out goal scorer, he still puts a hell of a shift in when playing up front on his own.
RR: We lost our top scorer, Josh Maja, last week. Do you think Grigg is capable of hitting the ground running here and comfortably filling that void?
TPAN: We’ve repeatedly been told that he’s not match fit, so maybe not. That said, I suspect he’s fitter than people would have us believe. He did turn his ankle a couple of games back though, so might need some TLC before being thrust in.
RR: How highly do you rate Grigg as a League One striker?
TPAN: I rate him amongst the best. You can’t say much more than that really!
RR: Grigg has struggled to hold down a place in the side this season after being your talisman in the last - do you think he’s been unlucky, or has his lack of involvement been fair?
TPAN: It’s totally unfair. The manager has said that he’s not played Grigg because his main supply line hasn’t been fit. Personally I suspect he sees the lad as some kind of luxury, which is frankly ridiculous.
If you’ve got someone who knows where the net is, you need to be playing him.
RR: The fee hasn’t been confirmed anywhere yet, but from what we’re told it would appear that it’s anywhere between £2-£3m, potentially rising to nearer £4m if we get back to the Premier League. From a Wigan perspective do you think that’s good business?
TPAN: If we get £4m and stay up it’s good business. If we get £2m and end up getting relegated then someone will need to take a long hard look at themselves.
RR: How do you get the best out of Will Grigg?
TPAN: Just give him the ball in and around the box.
As easy as that really!
RR: What would you say his biggest strengths and weaknesses are?
TPAN: I think I’ve covered this already. His finishing and his work rate are second to none. Oh, and his piercing blue eyes! That said, if he had an extra yard if pace then he’d be in the Premier League.
RR: Finally - do you view this as a good piece of business by Sunderland?
TPAN: I do. However what will happen is... he’ll get a bagful of goals for you his season and be hailed a hero. As soon as you start to struggle next season he’ll become a scapegoat and be benched in favour of a clogger.
People will then reflect that he’s never really done it in the championship.
It’s a pattern that’s repeated itself for Grigg over the years.
The truth is that he never really gets a fair go at this level (Championship).