Sunderland get their season underway properly this weekend with a Carabao Cup clash with Hull City, and one player feels that they might have a secret weapon hidden in their squad.
The words ‘secret’ and ‘hidden’ wouldn’t usually apply to a £4m striker, but Will Grigg has been anonymous during his 18-month stay at the Stadium of Light. Thus far, the 29-year-old has eight Sunderland goals from almost half a century of outings, but former Wigan teammate Max Power believes that could be about to change.
Grigg has bagged twice in his three pre-season appearances, most recently netting the only goal in the weekend friendly win over Harrogate Town. That finish was typical Grigg according to Power, and that’s a great sign for Black Cats fans.
“That goal that Griggy scored against Harrogate is trademark Will Grigg,” Power told the SAFC Unfiltered podcast, reported by the Chronicle Live. “If you watch Will Grigg, sometimes he will look as if he is not doing too much but that’s a bit unfair. Anyone who understands the game can see his movement, he is very clever, he is on the shoulder of the defender and always looking to make runs in behind.”
That movement has not brought the results that Sunderland fans expected when the striker made his move to Wearside, but if his teammates get the service right then he might be on the cusp of paying back a chunk of his transfer fee.
“Will is the best first-time finisher that I have played with in my career, and I have seen him score many of those,” added Power. “If you can get him in those positions, more often than not he will score. That’s something we need to improve on, and if we can do that then he will score 20 goals.”
Sunderland fans have not seen a regular 20-goal striker at the club since Kevin Phillips broke the barrier in three successive seasons at the turn of the century. Indeed, since the summer of 2000, only one Black Cats player has got past 20, Darren Bent in 2010. Last season, Lynden Gooch and Chris Maguire bagged 20 between them, sharing the leading scorer position in the league.
Power has also arguably underperformed at times in a Sunderland shirt, netting seven times in his 83 outings. However, fans have chosen to focus on his message, pointing out their thoughts on Grigg, the potential matchwinner who has thus far not impressed.
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Maybe put a Madison in behind him and we might get a tune out grigg. Not a chance with the current crop no guile no inventiveness.
— Corneilious71 (@boxing_buddy) August 31, 2020
He should , he should have done it last season better still when he came as a hero the season before , or maybe tried at Wembley, so please let it be this one 5 games he needs 3 , his problem is he can’t get past anyone ever ,
— Ralph Lane (@Lane2ralphlane) August 31, 2020
That’s the issue, getting the service right
— hannah Brown (@brownh1989) August 31, 2020
It doesn’t take genius,play to his strengths & it will happen…proven in L1 with every club he’s played for
— John Lee Blackett (@BlackettLee) August 31, 2020
Service does need to be better but his work rate need to improve too
— Gary Innes (@ginnes621) August 31, 2020
What sort of service does he want? He’s had everything so far but don’t apply yourself and it won’t happen. Needs to look at himself first. ??♂️
— ????? ?????? (@guffsafc73) August 31, 2020
I would be happy with 19 ?
— Dan Crowley (@DanCrow61790578) August 31, 2020
Definitely looks in better shape than last season
— Lee Craggs (@LeeCraggs5) August 31, 2020