CHRIS COLEMAN did not want to stand in the way of Lewis Grabban ending his Sunderland loan early - and is only focused on helping the players he does have to call on keep Championship football on Wearside this season.

Grabban is expected to get a rough ride from Black Cats fans when he makes his first return to the Stadium of Light as an Aston Villa player on Tuesday night.

He remains Sunderland’s top scorer this season with 12 goals having netted regularly before cutting his short his season long loan from Bournemouth in order to push through a move to Villa.

Grabban has scored in his last two appearances for the Villans, who are chasing promotion, and he scored on his last outing when they won 4-2 at Sheffield Wednesday on February 24.

Coleman said: “I am not worried about Lewis. I am more worried about Sunderland and us performing. Villa have a host of talent, I know players like James Chester, Neil Taylor, good lads and talented. I am not worried about one player, I am worried about us.

“Lewis never came to see me, he went to the chief executive. He cancelled his accommodation, then spoke to the chief exec. Lewis has to look after Lewis Grabban.

“If he has opportunities elsewhere, he never came to see me it was with Martin. It’s gone, finished, the boys we have now wanted to be here and these are the ones who don’t miss training or games.

“These are the boys that are going to keep us up, not those who have left. As far as I am concerned, I am happy to work with those we have here.”

Sunderland are still four points adrift of safety with 33 points to play for this season, so losing another game to Aston Villa is not something Coleman wants to endure.

He has been encouraged by recent displays against Millwall, Middlesbrough and Bolton, even though his team have only collected two points from a possible nine in that run.

Coleman, who has Kazenga LuaLua available again after he came through training today, said: “It’s been bubbly since Saturday, they have got to stay positive, they were fine and no dramas.

“It’s a win we need, of course. It’s a tight line in terms of us you know … for us to be bottom, going to Millwall who were unbeaten in nine, had won their last three, and for us to say ‘a draw is not enough’ I would end up losing them. I have to be realistic.

“There is not a team who goes there and gets an easy 90 minutes. We defended too deep second half, we tried to hold on to the three points so it was a long 45. That would be my only criticism.

“The last three performances, you are seeing that they are all fighting for each other. The more we talk about it, the harder it seems to get so we have to keep trying to perform as best as we can and get that elusive three points.

“For us to go to Millwall, show fight, we can’t have too many complaints to say that’s not enough.”