GUS POYET is “delighted” with rejuvenated Danny Graham, yet insists it’s too soon to be predicting the striker’s long-term future at Sunderland.
Graham has started four of Sunderland’s last six games after being handed a second chance at the Stadium of Light following 18 months out of the first-team picture.
While the £5million frontman is yet to open his account in a Sunderland shirt, he has been one of the brighter performers for the Black Cats over recent weeks, despite a chronic lack of service being one of the key reasons behind Poyet’s side struggling in the relegation dogfight.
But Graham is about to enter the final year of his Sunderland contract and given his lack of goals, there are inevitably question marks over whether the ex-Swansea man will remain in the frame next season.
Sunderland boss Poyet believes the final 10 games of this campaign will inevitably have repercussions for the club’s summer planning, but says he is not looking that far ahead at this stage.
Poyet said: “We are delighted with Danny.
“I think the fans are happy that he is playing too.
“I think normally, what happens this season will have a consequence for next season.
“But it would be very strange to make a decision now.
“Now, don’t get me wrong, if someone doesn’t play all season, then you can probably tell them that they could move on next year.
“But the ones who are playing all the time, you need to wait.
“It depends on so many things that can happen in the summer.
“Who (can Sunderland sign) if not him? Then you make decisions.”
It is a mark of the turnaround in Graham’s stock that his Sunderland future is even a talking point after the 29-year-old was sent out on loan to Hull, Middlesbrough and Wolves before returning to Wearside at the turn of the year.
Graham wasn’t even included in the party which travelled to Portugal last summer for Sunderland’s pre-season tour, with the Black Cats putting the frontman up for sale with a £1m price-tag.
But Graham has impressed both on the training field and during games since being handed an olive branch and he is desperate to remain in the frame next season.
“Now I am back in and around the first-team picture I want to stay,” he said last month.
“Not once have I said I wanted to go. Other circumstances have led me that way.
“I want to stay, do well in pre-season and see where that takes me next season.
“It’s strange. A few months, probably weeks, ago I was probably thinking where will I be going next on loan?
“Now I am back in and around the first team, hopefully I can do well and I would love to be in there next season too.”