SIMON GRAYSON was not giving anything away about his plans for Sunderland’s team to face Cardiff City – even if he did admit Aiden McGeady and John O’Shea are in with a shout of returning.

Grayson is desperate to help the Black Cats to a first home win under his watch, and a first victory at the Stadium of Light since last December.

He is looking for every little lift he can conjure up at the moment and ahead of Cardiff’s trip to the North-East he hopes to have a number of players available again after the midweek defeat at Everton in the EFL Cup.

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“Aiden McGeady has a chance,” said Grayson. “We’ve got a couple of knocks from the other night to check on. Marc Wilson wasn’t available either, and rested one or two others.

“One or two have trained and we will take stock in the morning. We can’t name a team on a Friday because of fitness tests they are going through again. Let’s hope one or two are available.”

He added: “John O’Shea has trained this morning. He has missed ten days of training so we will see tomorrow morning.”

Duncan Watmore, pencilled in to play for the Under-23s against West Ham on Sunday, will not figure again as he progresses towards a first team return after his long lay-off.

And Grayson, whose side sit just a point and a position above the Championship’s relegation zone, is confident things will turn around soon.

He said: “When I say I am not concerned about the position, I am aware of where we are though. I would like to be somewhere else in the table, of course I would.

“We have played a small number of games but it’s tight and a couple of victories can soon take you up the division. We have mentioned many times that more strength in depth in a couple of weeks when the players come back will also help us.”

Watmore’s stock has risen considerably in his absence. He has not played since last December because of a cruciate knee ligament injury and has only played 45 minutes for the Under-23s so far against Manchester City.

Grayson makes no secret of the fact that he would love to be able to call on him this weekend against Cardiff, to strengthen attacking options, but he knows the player’s long term future is far more important than short term gains.

The Sunderland manager said: “Duncan has had his schedule mapped out. I have spoken to the physio and I would have liked him playing this weekend. We are aware of what can happen and he will play 60-70 minutes against West Ham on Sunday, then hopefully we can think about him for first team.

“It will not be after the international weekend when he returns, though. We have a couple of Under-23s games we can play him in before the QPR game, including the Checkatrade Trophy game.

“I would love to throw him in but the conversations we have had with the doctor, the physio, I won’t jeopardise him or Paddy McNair. I’d have loved them six weeks ago when I started this job. We will have to manage them through this season as well because they have been out for so long, so they will have to catch up in terms of match fitness.”