SIMON GRAYSON insists he can turn things around at Sunderland this season, despite admitting that everyone on Wearside must realise there are no clubs too big to drop into League One.

The Black Cats, watched by an official attendance figure of just over 25,000 inside the capacity 48,000 Stadium of Light on Saturday, fell into the Championship’s relegation zone after another depressing defeat, this time to Cardiff City.

Sunderland have now lost four home games in a row for the first time sicne the ill-fated guidance of Paolo di Canio in the Premier League when they lost to Fulham, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United in 2013 (with Kevin Ball in charge of the last two).

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Grayson has been unable to lift the slump on Wearside since taking over in the summer, with Sunderland’s winless run on home soil extending back to December 17 last year (a run now stretched to 15 games).

Given the lack of financial clout he has had in the transfer market and the state of the club’s finances and morale he inherited, the current incumbent of the manager’s office can’t be blamed for all the problems Sunderland have faced so far.

But having been the man who guided Leeds United up from the third tier of English football successfully, the North Yorkshireman has warned everyone connected with the club that Championship status should not be taken for granted.

He said: “It is only a low point at this moment in time. We have lost another game. We want to make it better for everyone connected to this club.

“But no club is too big to go down. You’ve had Man City, Leeds, Nottingham Forest, big teams who have gone down into League One. We are not thinking about that. But we must be aware of where we are. We dust ourselves down, we are back at work in the morning. Ipswich and Preston are our next two games to try to get results to pick up points and get us up the table.”

It has been well documented that Grayson brought in ten new players over the summer to transform a squad deflated from relegation to the Championship for just £1.25m. It is also likely the wage bill has been slashed by more than 50 per cent from a figure of more than £80m.

Despite the positive vibes and the respect the players have for him – highlighted by their work ethic under him – the impressive win at Norwich on August 13 remains his only win in the league.

Asked if Sunderland are already in a relegation battle, Grayson said: “I have to be realistic. Any team in this division can go down. Are those at the top all talking about automatic promotion right now? Probably not. But some teams might be. 

“We have got to do what is required to win a game and I fully believe I have got a good squad who will get us results, pick us up the table and use this as a difficult experience for everyone to make us all stronger and better.”

Despite receiving criticism from some fans for, it has been claimed, negative tactics and substitutions, the majority of supporters are appreciative of the situation he has inherited and it will take time to repair low morale on the pitch and in the stands on a shoe-string budget. 

Grayson said: “Look I am under pressure because we have lost another game and there is pressure I put on myself. I don’t like being in this position where we have lost another game, but I have 650 plus games under my belt, and I know what is required as a manager to get a successful team going again. 

“We are not doing the right things at the moment, and we all need to work hard and give ourselves an opportunity to be successful. Losing matches isn’t good for any matches. I am confident in my ability that with the players coming back we will get these results.”

Sunderland’s chances of overcoming Cardiff on Saturday were hardly helped by the pre-match news that they had lost Jonny Williams and

Callum McManaman to illness and injury. Those two, as well as the injured Lewis Grabban, are already three key men.

Grayson will be checking on Williams and McManaman this morning before finalising his squad that will make the trip this afternoon for tomorrow night’s trip to Ipswich.

And the Sunderland boss, who enjoyed seeing Duncan Watmore make another appearance for the Under-23s against West Ham yesterday when he led the line, is desperate for all of his players to just start enjoying themselves again.

He said: “You look at Cardiff and because they are near the top of the league and have some decent players who do things they wouldn’t be doing if they were in our position. 

“On the reverse of that, a few decent results our players will be showing a different side to them, in terms of wanting the ball, being brave on the ball and taking us forward. 

“It is only natural players feel a bit inhibited and a bit drained of confidence when you are not winning matches. In a few matches time you will see a different side to the players.”