Sunderland stars excited by Graham’s arrival

Danny Graham
Danny Graham

DANNY Rose says Sunderland’s players are relishing the prospect of getting a closer look at Danny Graham after a brief introduction to the £5m frontman.

Deadline day signing Graham made his Sunderland debut as a late substitute in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Reading and could have made an instant impression after going close twice within a 60-second spell.

Graham only trained with his new team-mates for the first time on Friday and with 10 Sunderland players away on international duty this week, just a select few will get the chance to work with the 27-year-old for a sustained period prior to next Saturday’s visit of Arsenal.

But Rose, who made his return from injury at the Madejski Stadium, has been encouraged by the early signs from the former Swansea frontman and believes he will prove an effective foil for top scorer Steven Fletcher.

Rose said: “All the lads are happy that he’s signed for us, and maybe more so Fletch because we have been relying on him a lot this season and he’s done great for us.

“You thought it was written in the storyline for him to come on and snatch us the winner at Reading. The keeper made a good save though.

“But we’re looking forward to seeing what Danny Graham can offer us for the rest of the season.

“We’d only had one training session with him, and Fridays are always light before the game.

“But you could see glimpses of what he can offer for us for the rest of the season, and we’re all excited.”

Graham saw two headers blocked inside the six-yard box before Jimmy Kebe’s second of the game inflicted a first defeat in four on Martin O’Neill’s side.

Although Sunderland remain eight points clear of the relegation zone, Rose admits the Black Cats are still looking over their shoulders after a poor display against a rejuvenated Royals outfit.

The England Under-21 left-back said: “The gaffer said we had the chance there to look forward and look up the table. But we’re not. Other teams have picked up points and we’re looking back which is not nice.

“When you come in, the first thing you look at is the other results and where you are in the table and it’s not a nice feeling having pressure going into the next game.

“We have to look at the things we did wrong and put it right for next week because it won’t be easy against Arsenal.”

Rose was a half-time replacement for the ill Seb Larsson after being out of action with a hamstring strain since the FA Cup third round tie at Bolton on January 5.

“Seb’s been ill all week and to be fair to him, he wanted to pull his sleeves up and fight for the team,” added the on-loan Spurs man.

“I think he was just feeling it in the first half and the gaffer thought it was best not making it worse and he brought me on.

“I felt OK. There were times in the game when I was breathing quite heavily, but that’s only natural coming back into a game of this magnitude when both teams needed to win.

“I’m glad to be back and I’m looking forward to Saturday. I’ll aim to get in the team next Saturday, but if not, I’ve got to keep plugging away.”