SIMON GRAYSON has attempted to reassure disgruntled Sunderland supporters he will fight to do everything within his power to make a success out of the biggest challenge of his managerial career.

The former Leeds, Huddersfield and Preston boss has celebrated promotion wherever he has been but has soon found he has inherited a completely different challenge to any he has faced before at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland suffered a third defeat in a row against Sheffield United on Saturday and will, again, look to claim a first home win of the campaign when Nottingham Forest travel to the North-East tomorrow night.

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There is a lot of tension in the air on Wearside, where supporters chanted ‘are you fit to wear the shirt’ and ‘are you watching Ellis Short’ when the Blades claimed a two-goal lead courtesy of Clayton Donaldson’s strikes.

Grayson was spared criticism by the fans, probably because they know his hands are tied and that he has somehow managed to bring in ten new players since relegation from the Premier League at a cost of just £1.25m.

But he knows only positive results will turn things around at Sunderland, who are already sitting just a point above the relegation zone in 21st place and repeats of the display against Sheffield United would make it a struggle for them to climb away from danger.

Asked if he faces the hardest job of his career to revive the club, Grayson said: “I’ve not just thought this now, but probably when I came to the club I probably thought that.

“They’d been relegated and had financial troubles. Even when I went to Preston and Leeds they were all in a decent positions, not relegated from a big division. It’s a big job for me but I’m a fighter, that’s why I took it.

“I could have stayed at Preston, enjoyed myself there, got some good results or whatever but I wanted this challenge to make sure I can look back in a few years’ time and say look I’ve given it my best and I’ve actually achieved something with this football club. I’ll do whatever’s required.”

“We’ve got to stick together. We’ve got to take small steps and those small steps become big steps.”

Grayson is completely appreciative of why the fans are frustrated at Sunderland, having examined the events of the last ten years in the Premier League and the constant changes in both personnel and management.

But, having taken over at a time when the club’s owner Ellis Short would like to find a buyer and there is a reluctance to invest in the squad, the

North Yorkshireman has urged supporters to remember the majority of the players have not played a part in the demise.

Grayson will do everything he can to turn things around and he will not try to paint a picture to the fans that everything is rosy either.

He said: "I will give them an honest opinion on a daily basis. If people speak to me I'll tell them how I think it is.

“I'm not going to hide behind the fact of saying everything's alright. I do understand that frustration from the fans, it's not just this year, it goes back a long way and we have to do whatever's required to get over that obstacle that's in the way of this group of players and the supporters as well.

“I'll will say (to the fans) 'give us a chance' and they have done. They're entitled to their opinion, I don't think it's a situation where players are quaking in their boots (about playing in front of the Stadium of Light).

Ultimately they've got to make sure they don't let supporters see that they're affected by it (negativity). They have to show they can be brave, and earn their money.”

Grayson hopes to have Lee Cattermole back from a hamstring problem to face Nottingham Forest, while Bryan Oviedo was left out because of his long trip back from playing for Costa Rica. Lamine Kone will be assessed after going off with groin trouble.

If Cattermole is fit then he could replace Jack Rodwell in the side, who headed in Sunderland’s consolation against Sheffield United after a disappointing afternoon when the £10m man was even booed for his performance.

Grayson said: "I see these players every day and I said to Jack, whatever's happened has happened. It's in the past, this is a new start for you and hopefully people will give you that time to let you express yourself because you're a good footballer.

“He did alright, but there were a lot of players who did alright. I don't like to see individuals being picked out because he's one of all the group that care."