Manager's preview: Grayson on Lions encounter

Simon Grayson is looking to once again give his players some minutes in the tank against Livingston tonight (KO 7.45).

Sunderland’s trip to the Almondvale Stadium marks the midway point of their Scotland trip following Sunday’s opening match against Hibernian.

The Black Cats impressed in the opening exchanges and held a two-goal lead, courtesy of Wahbi Khazri and Jeremain Lens after 51 minutes, but they succumbed to intense Easter Road pressure as the half wore on and ended up squandering their lead.

Grayson refused to be downbeat after the stalemate, though, and with a positive two-day recovery under the Lads’ belts the 47-year-old is looking forward to once again ramping up their pre-season preparations ahead of their St Johnstone finale on Saturday.

“Some of players I’ve not seen in the flesh so it is nice to see them around,” he said.

“We have got this week now where we have got two more games.

“That will give us an opportunity to build up the fitness which we will do by players getting extra minutes on the pitch which is going to be valuable.

“There still will be a lot of work to be done on the training pitch.

“We are pretty pleased with how things have gone. It would’ve been nice to have won another game but if you don’t win we have to make sure you don’t lose.

“The players knew they were only going to get 45 minutes so whatever position they were going to be it was important they got something out of it.”

He continued: “If you are a full-back do your defensive work but if you can, are a joining in on the attacking front? If you are a wide player do your work up front but make sure you are helping your full-backs and other midfielders as well.

“That is all it has to be and I thought for 70 minutes (at Easter Road) the players did really well in those aspects.

“We know we need to work on things and we will keep doing that on a regular basis.” 

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