SIMON Grayson has come out fighting after claims he is on the verge of being axed.

The under-fire Sunderland manager insisted he has the 'balls' to lead a revival at the Stadium of Light following reports that defeat at home to Bolton tonight will see the Yorkshireman add an unwanted third sacking to his CV.

Grayson's future is under intense scrutiny after a winless run spanning more than two months since the club's sole league victory this season. Defeat to the only side currently below them in the table will leave the Wearsiders bottom of the Championship, their worst placing for more than 11 years as the threat of back-to-back relegations looms large.

Despite the turmoil, the 47-year-old remains confident of turning things around, and claims he has no regrets at quitting the relative comfort of his role as Preston manager in the summer to tackle a job that's proved impossible for so many of his predecessors.

Sunderland haven't won at home for 318 days, but at his pre-match press conference, a defiant Grayson insisted: "I had a comfortable job at Preston but I had the balls to come here and trust my ability to make a good club great again.

"People from the outside would say I was brave to take on the challenge given the constraints that come with it. Ultimately they tell me I made the right choice because I'm good at what I do and I deserve an opportunity to manage a club like this.

"Do I think I'm the right man for the job? Of course I do. I'm experienced, I've been through good times and bad times as a manager and I can't think of too many other people in football who could do a better job than I'm doing right now. I can turn this around 100 per cent. I've had tough times as a manager but I've never quit.

"This club deserves to have a manager like me. I've never walked away from anything in my life and I don't intend to start doing that now."

Grayson gave short shrift to talk of a third sacking to add to the ones which ended his spells in charge of West Yorkshire duo Leeds United in 2012 and Huddersfield Town 11 months later.

He alluded to 'obstacles' which have made the Sunderland job even more of a challenge than he expected as he attempts to halt years of decline, and the former Blackpool manager added: "I've got two sackings on my CV and both weren't necessarily expected or deserved.

"At Leeds we were three points off the play-offs which wasn't a bad position to be in, and at Huddersfield we were eight points clear of the relegation zone having just won promotion so it was unexpected.

"Once you get this job you understand the problems that have been at this club for a long time. There's a lot of obstacles that have gone in the way and I've had to deal with and that's why I'll come through this and we'll be looking at a very different Sunderland FC in the very near future.

"I don't regret coming here - you can't live your life that way. I'd have regretted not giving myself an opportunity here. At this moment in time there's not a lot of good things to be thinking about but that can change very quickly."

Sunderland are winless in 12 league games as they prepare to host the Trotters, who have gone six months without a victory on the road.

Grayson, who reported no new injury concerns following the abject display in the 2-1 defeat to Bristol City at the Stadium of Light, says there is no talk of relegation, despite growing fears among supporters of the return of third tier football for the first time in 30 years.

Watford were the last visiting side to lose on Wearside - in the Premier League in December - and the manager added: "Tuesday is a must-win game because we need another win very quickly. Is any club vulnerable to relegation? Of course they are. Do I think we'll get relegated? No. We've not talked about it whatsoever and not spoken to the players about it because I feel this group is good enough to get out of it.

"We're making daft errors at times and it becomes like Groundhog Day once we go a goal behind, especially at home but this is not a team low on confidence. It's frustrating for us all and we're desperate for a home victory because it's important to get that monkey off our back. It's a record that's got to change and let's hope it's on Tuesday because it's dragged on for 10-11 months.

"A club like Sunderland shouldn't be second bottom in the Championship, but we've got no divine right to be up there at the top. I've been around football dressing rooms for 32 years now and I genuinely don't sense there's any kind of split. They're all desperate to right the wrongs."