The Middlesbrough manager said: “It arose in my mind on Tuesday listening on the radio to the negativity shown towards Danny when he came on for Swansea at Sunderland.

I was unsure whether it would cause a problem for the Sunderland deal so I made an enquiry.”

He added: “Hearing he had been roundly booed at Sunderland, did it make him think ‘I can’t go there?’ I thought it was worth a go.

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“He’s gone to Sunderland now. The reality of football is that he could go out in his first game score a a hat-trick and he won’t be booed any more.

“He knows (Adam) Johnson and (Lee) Cattermole well from his time here and Kieren Westwood from Carlisle. He has a support system already around him and the manager will be telling him to get goals and everything will be fine.”

Mowbray never got to the stage of talking to Graham.

His advisors informed him that the player’s mind was already made up on working under Martin O’Neill and staying in in the Premier League.

The Sunderland manager remained calm and patient in his pursuit of Graham even after hearing a large section of supporters air their disapproval during the goalless draw with Swansea.

Graham said: “The manager’s said a lot to me, probably stuff I can’t say on camera.

But it’s been positive. The fact he wanted me at the football club was a major factor. To come into a big football club and be wanted by the manager made the move a whole lot easier.

“If you ask around most players want that reassurance.

It was a major factor and now everything’s dusted off I can’t wait to get going.

“The game (at Sunderland) couldn’t have come at a worse time. I ended up coming on and getting a chance at the end. But I was contracted to Swansea Football Club and I gave 110 per cent. I’m going to do the same here.”

Graham scored 37 league goals in 91 starts during twoand- a-half years at Carlisle before hitting 38 goals in 82 league starts in the Championship with Watford. After sealing his Premier League return with Swansea he has scored 21 goals in 18 months in South Wales.

“The last few years have been mad to be honest, leaving Middlesbrough for League One and having to prove myself all over again. I did that in League One and the Championship and now I’m back in the Premier League where I wanted to be,” said Graham, likely to play alongside Steven Fletcher at Reading tomorrow.

“I want to move the club forward.

It’s a massive club and should be in the top half of the Premier League. If we can achieve that in the summer we’ll look to move on from there.”

Graham signed on the day French striker Louis Saha’s short stay with the club came to an end. After making just 14 appearances since arriving last summer, his contract was ended with mutual consent.

Egyptian winger Ahmed Elmohamady, 24, has also left Sunderland. He has returned to Hull City for the remainder of the season on loan.

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