DANNY GRAHAM will not be frozen out by Gus Poyet, despite the striker’s continued availability.
Sunderland boss Poyet made no secret during the summer that Graham was not part of his first-team plans and the Black Cats remain willing to let the 29-year-old move to the Championship on an emergency loan.
But the interest in Graham has so far not developed into any financially viable offers and the former Swansea frontman, who spent last season on loan at Hull and then Middlesbrough, continues to train with the Sunderland squad.
Graham made his first Sunderland appearance in more than a year as a late substitute in last week’s Capital One Cup defeat to Stoke, while he has been on the bench for the Premier League draws at West Brom and Burnley.
And while Poyet has told Graham that Connor Wickham, Jozy Altidore and Steven Fletcher are all ahead of him in the pecking order, the head coach says it would be fruitless to ostracise the £5million striker and leave him training with the kids.
Poyet said: “We have 21 fit players, plus the two goalkeepers. That is with Sebber (Coates) out.
“Those 21 include Cabral, Danny and Harry (Mavrias).
“They are there, so I’m not going to tell him I don’t want him and make him go and train on the side.
“It’s clear that we’ve got three other strikers and I’m playing one of them.
“For me, he’s alright and he’s training every day.
“He doesn’t complain, he’s a great lad and trains well.
“He’s got certain characteristics to the other strikers that I like too.
“But I need to pick things for the whole game and sometimes, other players deserve to play.”
Sunderland put Graham – who has almost two years to run on his lucrative Black Cats contract – up for sale with a £1m price tag in the summer, but despite enquiries from Watford and Middlesbrough, the 29-year-old remained at the Stadium of Light when the transfer window closed.
Poyet revealed that Sunderland have received several loan enquiries for Graham since the transfer deadline, but the terms on offer have not been sufficient for the Black Cats to let him leave.
“We’ve had approaches for Danny – a lot,” added Poyet.
“But it needs to work for everybody.
“So at the moment, there’s nothing close to him going.”