Simon Grayson to use Sunderland pair if they don’t leave before season opener

Jeremain Lens in action at Bradford on Saturday.
Jeremain Lens in action at Bradford on Saturday.

Simon Grayson will not hesitate in selecting Jeremain Lens and Wahbi Khazri against Derby County, if they are still at the club.

The pair are expected to leave Sunderland this summer but have been superb form during pre-season so far.

With the transfer window not shutting until the end of August, something which Grayson thinks should be changed, they could find themselves available at the start of the season.

The Black Cats have a tough opening to the season and the pair could make a big impact.

Grayson said: “Definitely. While they’re still contracted to the club, they’ll be considered for selection.

“When you see the performances, especially with Lens today, that’s why they’ve played at a real good level and are worth the money they are.

“I’m planning for them to be here but I’ve got contingency plans for if they’re not.

“We’ve always said that they could be decent players at this level because of where they’ve come from and what they’ve done previously.

“Time will tell on that, I’m planning to have all these players on the first day of the season, the window doesn’t shut until the 31st.

“That’s what I don’t agree with when it comes to the transfer market, really it should finish before the season starts, so the manager knows what his squad is going to be for the opening part of the season.”

Grayson is pleased with his side’s development after the 3-2 win over Bradford on Saturday.

A week on from the dire first-half display at St Johnstone, the Black Cats looked a far more organised unit, despite conceding twice in the second half.

Grayson said: “Pre-season is all about moving forwards week-in and week-out. Monday we did a good session, the standard of the play without the ball was then better on Tuesday night.

“Today, you’ve seen what we’ve done with the ball. Listen, its all about what happens a week on Friday and over the next 46 games, nothing is ever won or lost in pre-season. It is never easy for a manager when he comes in to get his ideas across in a short space of time.”