MARTIN O’Neill is backing Danny Graham to beat the Sunderland boo boys who slated the striker at the Stadium of Light this week.
A small section of the Black Cats crowd barracked the Gateshead-born frontman when he came on as a late substitute for Swansea on Tuesday.
Comments which he made as a player at former club Watford have been circulating in recent weeks, and ahev not gone down well with some supporters.
Asked who he would support if the club he supported did not exist, he had joked that he would “stay as far away from Sunderland as I could.” But O’Neill is completely unconcerned about the incident, insisting that the player will win Black Cats fans over during the course of his three-and-a-half year contract.
“I gather he made a comment a long time ago, and I can understand why some fans might be unhappy with that,” O’Neill said. “But it’s not a concern for me, it really isn’t.
“I’m trying to build a successful football club, and I know that fans will give players we bring in every chance.
“In the scheme of things, how Danny does on the pitch at the football club will determine everything else. And I’ve no doubt he’ll score goals and be a success here.”
O’Neill believes Graham has the pedigree to become a very valuable member of the Sunderland squad he is putting together.
“He’s a good player, but he’s also one who is a proven goalscorer at this level. That’s the key,” he said. “We need goalscorers, players who have done it at Premier League level, and Danny has done. He was Swansea’s top scorer last season.”