Simon Grayson backs Sunderland keeper to recover from Celtic difficulties in Derby opener

Jason Steele. Picture by Frank Reid
Jason Steele. Picture by Frank Reid

Simon Grayson has backed Jason Steele to recover from his difficult debut against Celtic.

The Sunderland boss is set to give the former Blackburn Rovers keeper his competitive debut against Derby County in tomorrow night’s season-opening Sky Bet Championship clash.

Dutchman Robbin Ruiter– who joined the Black Cats on a two-year contract last night – will be a strong contender for the first-team jersey this season, but Grayson feels that he is short of training time at the moment.

He said: “I would have thought [Ruiter will miss out] – he’s not trained too much since going back to Holland after the Scunthorpe game.

“He’ll have a few more sessions probably for the Bury game (in the Carabao Cup next Thursday) and then obviously the next game after that is Norwich (on Sunday, August 13).”

Steele was beaten five times during a torrid Stadium of Light debut against Scottish treble winners Celtic last weekend, but Grayson retains faith in a goalkeeper with more than 300 Championship games under his belt.

Steele signed a four-year contract last week and the Black Cats boss insists that the 26-year-old will improve with the rest of his team-mates.

He said: “I don’t blame him too much in terms of his performance – I don’t think other people really helped him out.

“Starting from the fourth minute, a bad backpass put him under pressure when it didn’t need to. He’s then left in a not ideal position to clear the ball, which then leads to Lamine doing what he did.

“It had a real knock-on effect.

“When you look back, he made some good saves – he’ll be disappointed with the mistakes of one or two people in front of him.

“Ultimately, everyone has to do and will do better on Friday.”