WHEN Sunderland and Everton go head-to-head at Goodison Park tonight, it will pit two clubs with contrasting summer spending sprees together but Simon Grayson insists he feels just as much pressure to succeed.

Grayson’s first transfer window in charge of the Black Cats saw him bring in ten new faces at a cost of just £1.25m during a summer of change following relegation.

That is in stark contrast to what Ronald Koeman had to work with in the Premier League, having been given the go-ahead to spend in excess of £140m on changing the face of the squad – and there is still a belief he didn’t replace Romelu Lukaku adequately.

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Pressure has grown on Koeman to deliver results quickly because of how much he has had at his disposal, having seen only Swansea record fewer shots than the Toffees in the Premier League. Everton have also conceded 12 goals in their last four games, all defeats, without scoring in reply.

Odds have tumbled on the Dutchman getting the sack and a surprise result for Sunderland in the EFL Cup tonight would only heighten concerns about Everton’s position.

But despite spending nowhere near what Koeman has had in his transfer budget, Grayson believes he also has to deliver the positive results to turn things around.

“I don’t think so (cost cutting meaning less pressure),” said Grayson. “Ultimately I will put myself under pressure because I want to win as many matches as possible.

“Every time I put a team out, I want to make sure it reflects me. That it goes out and tries to get a positive result. We want to win as many games as possible regardless of what is happening off the pitch.

“I put myself under pressure because that’s what I do. And that’s why I’m in this position as manager. Other people can read things into that situation, they can say it takes the pressure off, but I don’t see it like that. The pressure I am under is to do the best I can for myself and for the club.”

There is an acceptance on Wearside that Grayson has taken over at a difficult time. Owner Ellis Short is trying to reduce the club’s debts, with chief executive Martin Bain effectively admitting selling Jordan Pickford to Everton for £30m was merely to help ease cash problems.

Bain has described how the aim was to secure more sustainability at a time when Sunderland are still having to pay legacy payments on previous transfers; contributing to the mess which saw them post debts of around £110m at the end of July last year.

Forty per cent wage cuts in players’ contracts have helped ease a wage bill which had stood at over £80m, but Bain insists Short is still ploughing money into the club and the aim remains promotion.

Grayson said: “I think we’ve been trying to say this since the summer, since relegation, that this season was always going to be a year of transition both on and off the pitch, financially getting it in a steady state.

“At least Martin has put a few things out in the public domain where the money has gone. People probably didn’t realise that a lot of the money has gone to pay off previous deals and mistakes from different people.

“What we’re trying to do is make sure that we move forward and do it in a correct manner. Martin will deal with that, I’ll work with him to make sure that everything is positive. And hopefully people will realise it isn’t an easy situation. Ultimately we will do our best to make sure we are successful here.”

Fans’ frustrations have grown during the most recent slump after a bright start, and Grayson would love his team to deliver a timely lift – even if the Championship remains the high priority.

Grayson said: “We tried to stress six weeks ago when we went undefeated in our first five games that we were going to go through a sticky spell, whether through injury, suspension, lack of form, confidence and so on. That doesn’t change now.

“The two games we’ve played most recently, we have done very well in them. We are going to improve, we are going to improve through players coming back from injury and it is a long season.

“You look at all the teams and all the results from the weekend, I bet nobody could pick a coupon in the Championship because of the level of inconsistency. Teams can beat anybody on their day.

“We know what we need to do. We know there is pressure on us because of the size of the club and being an ex-Premier League club. But that is the same for Aston Villa, for Hull City and for Middlesbrough. That is the nature of the Championship.”

Grayson has to make changes to his side tonight because Brendan Galloway and Ty Browning are ineligible under the terms of their loans from Goodison. Duncan Watmore will not be risked either, with another Under-23s date pencilled in for Sunday against West Ham.

The Sunderland boss will be interested to see if Pickford starts for Everton having worked with him during a loan at Preston, although there is a feeling he will be rested.

Grayson said: “I had a big part to play, I developed his future! I took him to Preston. Jordan could prove to be a snip at £30m because he is young and has potential. Hopefully it will help us balance our books.

“He is a great kid, a fantastic shot saver, has good ability and good distribution. I always felt he would be a Premier League player and an England No 1 of the future. He is only going to improve and let’s hope he is not playing against us.”