Sunderland boss has key message for players ahead of Reading clash

Lewis Grabban
Lewis Grabban

Chris Coleman wants to see his Sunderland side attack more – and says they cannot solely rely on Lewis Grabban as they look to end their home hoodoo.

The club’s 10-goal top scorer will lead the Sunderland line against former side Reading this weekend as the Black Cats look to end a 20-game winless streak at the Stadium of Light.

Buoyed by the 2-0 win over Burton Albion, which lifted Sunderland off the bottom of the Championship, focus has quickly shifted to improving the dire home form with back-to-back wins the aim.

Coleman is keen to see the goalscoring burden shared and James Vaughan and George Honeyman scored the late goals against Burton.

But Vaughan, a summer signing from Bury, will serve a one-game ban against Reading after the striker picked up his fifth yellow card at the Pirelli Stadium.

Vaughan has proved a useful weapon from the bench for Coleman, the striker assisting Grabban for his goal at Villa Park before getting on the scoresheet at Burton.

Bournemouth loanee Grabban, who has scored 10 goals in 15 Championship games with half of those coming at the Stadium of Light, will remain the main focal point against Reading.

Coleman has praised Grabban’s impact but wants to see Sunderland be more positive in their approach play, with the 47-year-old keen to see the goals shared out.

“Lewis is offering himself to the cause by scoring goals, he keeps on scoring which is a huge positive,” said Coleman.

“But we’re conceding goals. So what do we do? Do we put 10 men behind the ball for 90 minutes and hope Lewis may grab a goal?

“I’m not sure that’s the way to go. I think that’s false sense of security. I think we’ve got to be more positive when we’re in possession.

“We’ve got to attack more and try and score more goals so that if we concede one at least we’ve scored three.

“What we can’t do is think Lewis has got one so let’s hold on to that because that’s not got us very far. We’ve got to be more positive in every area on the pitch and start thinking more positively too.

“And then it won’t be just Lewis scoring, it will be others too. And when that happens, that’s when we start winning.”

Grabban spent the second half of last season on loan at Reading, scoring three goals in 19 games while on loan at the Championship play-off finalists.

Reading have struggled to match those heights this season with Jaap Stam’s side 18th in the table, four places and six points better off than hosts Sunderland.

The Black Cats are missing several players through injury including Duncan Watmore, Didier Ndong, Jonny Williams and Lamine Kone.

Vaughan will now serve a one-game ban, the second player to serve a suspension this season.

Lee Cattermole missed Coleman’s first game in charge at Aston Villa after picking up five yellow cards.