DANNY GRAHAM is among the Sunderland outcasts who have been snubbed from the Black Cats’ pre-season trip to Portugal.
Up-for-sale Graham has missed all three of Sunderland’s friendlies so far this summer due to a back injury.
But the striker, who Sunderland have made available for £1million after spending last season on loan at Hull and Middlesbrough, will not be given the chance to earn a reprieve in the Algarve.
The 28-year-old is among several players considered surplus to requirements who have been left out of the party travelling to Portugal today for Sunderland’s nine-day pre-season tour.
With fellow frontmen Steven Fletcher, Connor Wickham and Jozy Altidore all included, head coach Gus Poyet has decided to leave Graham on Wearside, prior to his likely exit before the transfer deadline.
Poyet said: “Danny has had a spasm in his back. He hasn’t trained for five days.
“I was trying to play him in one of the three games this week.
“But I’m not taking the whole squad to Portugal. There are people who are going to stay here.
“Danny is one of them.
“As everyone knows, we’ve got Fletch, Jozy and Connor, plus Fabio (Borini) if he comes in.
“It will be very difficult for Danny to be part of that group.”
Modibo Diakite, Cabral and Alfred N’Diaye were also expected to be among the players left behind in the North East today, with Poyet envisaging taking a maximum squad of 20.
All of those trio are likely to leave the club over the next six weeks and there is little merit in including them for a trip which Poyet will use to fine-tune his preparations for the new Premier League campaign.
“The squad will be between 18 and 20,” added the Uruguayan.
“For those who stay, it’s difficult for them.
“It’s not something I wanted to do.
“But there are players who are going to have a chance to be part of the squad and there are others that it’s going to be difficult for them to be part of it.
“It’s a matter of having the right squad and the right balance.
“They are still our players, still training and still getting paid. There is nothing wrong with that. But I need to make decisions.”
– CHRIS YOUNG