Sunderland head coach Simon Grayson has told Chronicle Live that he will not be rushing Duncan Watmore back into the first team even with the lack of other options up front.

When the 23-year-old striker burst onto the scene for Sunderland, it was thought that he would become a key player for the Black Cats. While he did show plenty of that talent, he ended up being ruled out for nine months when he suffered a ruptured cruciate ligament. Now though Watmore is closing in on a return and is set to play 45 minutes for the U23s in their match against Manchester City.

And with Sunderland having several injuries up front, some think it is time for Watmore to return to the first team. Lewis Grabban going down in the mid-week match with Nottingham Forest leaves James Vaughan as the only senior striker left in the squad and this has led to some to call for Watmore to at least be named on the bench for their forthcoming games.

However Grayson has said he will not be rushing Watmore back into the first team and it could be a month before he appears at the Stadium of Light. He said: “I could be playing with someone’s livelihood,”

“There’s a high percentage rate of players coming back from a serious injury that there could be repercussions.”

“I’m not prepared to take that risk, I’ll be guided by the specialists, the fitness department.”

 “It might be 10 minutes here or there, or more time in the U23s.”

“I would think Duncan Watmore wouldn’t start a first team game for another month probably.”

“I’d like him to but I won’t play with someone’s livelihood, I’m not saying he won’t be in and around it hopefully he will.”

“He’s been back in with the first team for two or three weeks now and he’s looking sharp and strong.”

“Of course it’s a different barrier to cross playing again in the first team after a serious injury.”

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