SIMON GRAYSON wants everyone connected with Sunderland to tune into the long term plan and the challenge the club faces after criticism of his own methods increased during the last couple of weeks.

The Black Cats boss is aware some of his tactical decisions and selections have been questioned in recent matches after the winless run in the Championship was extended to eight matches; losing seven of those.

The latest depressing sequence of results has seen Sunderland drop into the relegation zone, a position many had hoped would never be on the cards after falling out of the Premier League last season.

But Grayson thinks the boo-boys can go overboard, despite losing at Ipswich 5-2 on Tuesday, and he thinks there are supporters who need to be more appreciative of the situation the club finds itself in.

He said: “I have always said that I wasn’t part of this club over the last few years from the moment I walked in the door. What has happened since has been trying to change mentality around the training ground, the staff, supporters and a lot of frustration has been built up.

“If everyone is going to buy into what we are going to do it will be a lot easier.

“I accept that there is a lot of frustration around and results like Tuesday will bring people out of the woodwork who are moaning and complaining, they have probably never been to Ipswich on a Tuesday night or been up and down the country watching this team.

“On the other side of it there are a lot of supporters who have done that and they’re entitled to voice their opinion, but we have to be positive in everything we are looking to do.”

Sunderland head to his former club Preston today knowing they are already getting to the stage where they can’t really afford another reversal.

Grayson has been accused of not knowing his best team and suggested that after Tuesday night’s defeat at Portman Road he has picked “25-30 different teams” to face Preston, even though he knows what side he would like to send out at Deepdale.

He said: “I have a team I would love to pick in my head if I had everyone available to me now. That team would start and win matches without a shadow of a doubt.

“As a manager you have to deal with circumstances and you are not always put in that nice position. I think we are moving in a positive direction in that we are getting a lot of those players back, there’s strength in depth and competition for places.

“Hopefully it reaches a stage in the season where I am saying it is going to be the same team again because why would you change.”

Striker Lewis Grabban remains sidelined with a hamstring problem, while defender Marc Wilson has been ruled out today with a groin injury.

Grayson hopes to be able to call on Callum McManaman, Jonny Williams and Aiden McGeady from the start, while Duncan Watmore could be involved in some capacity.

The Sunderland manager said: “That all goes back to the question of what my strongest team is. You can bring Duncan into that too and it gives me some options. I can play different systems and change it at times.

“Grabban could be back into the equation in a couple of weeks too. I’d love to have those options. I haven’t got the problem who to pick at this moment in time apart from because of the results. The nicest problem is when you have 22 fit players, all competitive and as good as each other.”

Regardless of the players he has available, Grayson has tried to get a positive vibe on the training ground since losing at Ipswich – and he hopes they are ready to deliver.

He said: “It’s part and parcel of your job as a manager that we are overseeing everybody, the supporters to the staff here and the players. If I come in with my chin on the floor, sulking, that’s going to reflect on the players.

“You have to make sure you are the bright positive person, which is my personality anyway. There’s the odd occasion where I might come in tired and grumpy but I soon snap out of it because people tell me I have to.”