SUNDERLAND are ready to step up efforts to land Preston striker Jordan Hugill this week after successfully offloading Jeremain Lens over the weekend.

Lens finally completed his return to Turkey yesterday, when Besiktas confirmed they had won the battle for his signature despite the fact he spent last season on loan with Fenerbahce. Sunderland have since confirmed the move too.

It is understood Sunderland have brought in around the £5m mark for the Dutch international and manager Simon Grayson hopes to receive a chunk of that to boost his own spending power.

Cash remains in short supply at the Stadium of Light for Grayson to seriously tinker with his squad and he has already had a couple of offers rejected for Middlesbrough-born striker Hugill.

The 25-year-old was used as a second half substitute during Preston’s 1-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, with uncertainty continuing surrounding his future.

Birmingham City remain in the hunt for his signature but Sunderland – who remain interested in a loan deal for Aston Villa’s Ross McCormack - have been told they will have to pay around the £4m mark to land him. Grayson is gearing up his squad for this Thursday’s Carabao Cup tie at Bury before then taking his players to Norwich City on Sunday.

He would love to have further additions on board for that trip to Carrow Road, having been satisfied with Friday’s performance against Derby County.

Sunderland claimed a point against the Rams courtesy of Lewis Grabban’s first goal for the club; a penalty three minutes before half-time which cancelled out the opener from Bradley Johnson.

Grabban had other options this summer after spending last season on loan at Reading and he has revealed why he thought moving to Wearside was the right thing to do for his career.

He said: “Honestly I think Sunderland is the biggest team in the division and it's a good opportunity to be part of the club. Hopefully we can rebuild and do something special this season and challenge for promotion.

“I definitely think we're good enough to do that and hopefully across the season we can maintain a high level and achieve something.”

Grabban has made the long move from Bournemouth on a season long loan and has every intention of scoring the goals that will deliver that dream promotion back to the Premier League.

He might not have been at Sunderland for long but he has already been impressed by the vibe after seeing the players turn in an encouraging first performance of the season against Derby.

Grabban said: “It's a new season, new chapter and it's going to be near enough a new team. I think we're going to do things a bit differently this season – work hard for each other and the fans, and hopefully the results will follow.

“You've got to go game by game, week by week, trying to build on each performance. You can never get too high, never get too low because you will lose games, you will draw. It's good to maintain a good level and just kick on.

“I think the fans were pleased with what they saw in terms of the work ethic on Friday, the lads worked hard. Hopefully we can build a nice partnership with the fans and take it on from there.

“It's been good so far. We've got a good group of lads, contrary to the stories. I think it's a good group of lads and it was vital to start with a positive result to lift everyone at the club, not just the players but the fans and everyone involved. I think we did that and hopefully we can build on it and keep going.”

Clearly scoring his first goal in his very first competitive outing in a Sunderland shirt bodes well for the future, while he also thinks his partnership with James Vaughan could blossom.

Vaughan, the former Everton striker signed from Bury for £500,000, might not have scored but he worked hard in the final third and won a number of headers, despite being up against a tough visiting backline.

Grabban said: “I think me and Vaughan did well – we worked well and formed a good partnership, one dropping in and helping out defensively. Hopefully we can build on that and have a lot of success this season for the team.

“It was nice for me to score a goal on my debut but overall the most important thing is that we got the result and played well collectively.”