IF Sunderland fans have been looking for little signs to explain why Simon Grayson could be the man to revive the club’s fortunes, perhaps they should look no further than three of his four summer signings.

Grayson might not have arrived with the top-flight CV that some of his predecessors did, but he has arrived with tactical acumen of the Football League. And that, after all, is where the Wearside outfit finds itself again, ten years after last leaving it behind.

The 47-year-old has inherited a squad which was shorn of confidence and low in morale following the depressing relegation from the Premier League – and yet in his two weeks in charge he has made a favourable impression on those who were around under David Moyes.

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And if he wasn’t a likeable manager then there is no chance that Aiden McGeady, Ty Browning and James Vaughan would have agreed to move to Sunderland. All three have played under him before.

The spirit and the energy levels have been evident in Scotland this week, where the players have worked on fitness and systems ahead of a first season under Grayson’s watch.

Yesterday lunch-time, while Grayson was back in the North-East to attend little Bradley Lowery’s funeral, the North Yorkshireman left the session in the hands of his assistant Glynn Snodin and the approach was still the same for 90 minutes.

At the Oriam Centre, Scotland’s national sports centre at Heriot Watt University, players followed a warm-up with running drills, small sided matches and some interesting shooting drills. The smiles, including from the those you would expect to leave like Lamine Kone and Wahbi Khazri, and the skills, like Jeremain Lens’ brilliance, made for a positive and enjoyable working environment.

Grayson has managed to achieve that during his first two weeks, which bodes well moving forward. Browning believes he is the sort of manager to give everyone a boost when needed. The 23-year-old spent five months with him at Preston last season.

The Northern Echo:

New boys: Ty Browning and Brendan Galloway in Scotland after training 

Browning said: “The gaffer is a good man-manager. A few of the lads have asked me as well as Brendan Galloway ‘what’s he like?’ I found him and Glynn Snodin easy to work with. They just expect 100 per cent from you when it comes to game time and work time, then want you to enjoy yourself the rest of the time.

“I’d say he is definitely capable of giving everywhere a lift if it is needed. Obviously I didn’t experience what it was like last season, I’m not sure of what the vibes were like, but it seems quite a good vibe here at the minute. I am just excited to be here and to get started.”

Browning only made eight appearances for Preston under Grayson because of injury during his loan. Yet he has still been brought to Sunderland, perhaps an indication of just how highly the manager rates the Everton youngster.

He hopes to be given some football against St Johnstone this afternoon, in the final friendly of the trip to Scotland, and he prefers to play centre-half, so will be competing with Kone, John O’Shea and Papy Djilobodji for a spot as things stand.

Browning feels Grayson is more than capable of leading this group of players – aided by a few new recruits, with Brentford midfielder Ryan Woods the latest to be linked – into a promotion charge at the first attempt.

He said: “The manager knows the Championship quite well. He knows it’s not like the Premier League where the full-backs are bombing on, it’s more a physical challenge. You want your full-backs next to your centre-halves. He knows what is required.

“We have the likes of myself, Aiden and James Vaughan who have played at this level so I am sure they will help. It is completely different to the Premier League, with the Tuesdays-Saturdays-Tuesdays, it’s definitely more demanding and those who haven’t played in it will have to get used to it.

“Sunderland was an ideal move for me. I knew Brendan was coming here too, I knew the gaffer so it was an easy decision. It’s a big club and a Premier League club with the facilities, the fans, we just need to get it back where it belongs.

“Promotion is the main objective for the team and the manager, that’s what we are here for to get us back to the Premier League.”

But where will Browning, who can also play right-back, be playing? He said: “I prefer centre-half, I don’t mind playing right-back but centre-half is more me.

“I am more a defensive kind of player, I won’t be the type to go charging down the wing. I would rather stay solid and I suppose if you don’t concede you don’t lose.

“The manager had a chat with me last season. He didn’t want me bombing on, he was of the mindset that if you don’t concede you don’t lose. That’s what he will want from me and the back four again.

“I have settled in fine, I knew a few of the lads anyway so it has been quite easy. I knew the gaffer and one or two coaches, so I have fitted in straightaway.

“It’s probably the time in my career where games are the most important thing for me. I have had a couple of loans, a few injuries, and now I just want to start playing regularly.”