SIMON GRAYSON feels that singling out Sunderland’s goalkeepers for criticism is unfair after another weekend when supporters were left wondering when the next win will arrive.

The Black Cats are already three points adrift of safety in the Championship relegation zone having failed to claim a victory from a league match since August 13 at Norwich City.

Fans’ latest frustrations could be heard again in the form of boos at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, when Sunderland earned a point against Queens Park Rangers.

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Grayson was satisfied with elements of his team’s display, but in the end it was yet another home date where Sunderland came up short; extending a winless run on Wearside that stretches back to last December.

Sunderland gave themselves a much tougher challenge by conceding first before half-time, when Idrissa Sylla headed in from inside six yards by outjumping James Vaughan in the area.

There was an argument that Steele should have made sure he could get off his line to deny that opportunity, while he struggled with his distribution for a large part of the afternoon.

The former Middlesbrough man has played the last three matches since replacing Robbin Ruiter, who had endured his own difficult period, and has made numerous good stops.

Grayson, though, does not think the focus should be on what his shot-stoppers are doing, suggesting the team’s overall form is his main concern.

The Sunderland boss said: “I think the goalkeepers have had a bit of a hard time. They’ve made mistakes, of course they have, but it’s not easy for them out there. It was very blustery at the weekend, and that can make it hard in certain areas with your kicking, but I thought Jason did make some good saves.

“There was one late on in the game that when you see it from behind, it takes a massive swerve. It was in the last four minutes, and while most people might have thought he would catch it, it took a massive swerve at the last second and he did well to get anything on it.

“I think he made some vital saves for us when they were needed, and I think Jason can be pleased with his performance.

“Does he need to improve? Of course he does. But does every other player need to improve too? Of course they do. We need to get B pluses or A minuses to get to where we want to get to.”

Grayson’s comments suggest Steele is set to keep his place at Brentford this weekend when the pressure could really mount if they fail to return to the North-East with a positive result.

The £500,000 summer buy from Blackburn has played seven times in the league so far, while Ruiter has appeared in five. Neither have been able to record Sunderland’s first clean sheet in the Championship this season with November approaching.

Sunderland have been encouraged by the return to fitness of Duncan Watmore, while hopes are strong that Marc Wilson, Tyias Browning and Lamine Kone will all be available to head to Griffin Park.

All three missed against QPR, with Browning and Kone casualties last week because of an injury in training and through illness respectively.