Martin O'Neill backs Danny Graham to win over Sunderland fans

Striker joined from Swansea in £5m deal

Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill has told new signing Danny Graham to let his football do the talking as he attempts to prove his critics wrong.

The 27-year-old will go straight into the squad for tomorrow's Barclays Premier League trip to Wigan having completed a £5million switch to the Stadium of Light from Swansea yesterday.

However, he did so with the debate over his boyhood affiliation to Newcastle and consequent attitude to his new club still raging on.

Graham was booed by some home fans during the Swans' 0-0 draw on Wearside on Tuesday evening less than 48 hours before he signed, but O'Neill is confident he will silence his detractors by doing what he does on the pitch.

The Ulsterman said: "He wants to do well and the very fact is that the reaction he got the other evening didn't put him off coming here - that would say something about the lad - and I think he wants to go and prove himself.

"I think he has felt that during the course of his career, that's what he's had to do every single time, try to prove himself. That's probably what has kept him going.

"In the scheme of things, it's how Danny does for the football club that will determine everything else.

"I have got really no doubts that he will score goals and he will prove a great buy.

"He has got some experience, of course, because he scored goals last season, and I think he wants to prove a point. All those attributes, I find pretty nice."

O'Neill was not deterred in his pursuit of the former Middlesbrough, Carlisle and Watford frontman by the less than unanimous reception, and sees no reason why he cannot be a big hit on Wearside.

He said: "Steven Fletcher has come in and he might not have been everyone's choice, as it were, and he's settled down and he has been terrific for us, really terrific.

"We have got a number of people here who have grown up either Middlesbrough fans or Newcastle fans - Lee Cattermole may never have considered himself ever playing for Sunderland at some stage or another. It can happen."

Graham was O'Neill's third and final January acquisition, following Bursaspor midfielder Alfred N'Diaye and Al Hilal defender Kader Mangane, who has joined the club on loan until the end of the season.

However, he was perhaps the most coveted as the manager attempted to bolster his striking options after allowing Fraizer Campbell, Louis Saha and Ji Dong-won, the latter on loan, to leave the club this month.

Whether the newest addition will eventually form a two-man frontline with leading scorer Fletcher remains to be seen with O'Neill having relied largely on the Scotland international operating as a lone striker with Stephane Sessegnon providing the support this season.

He said: "I will give that some thought and of course during the course of the next number of matches if they stay fit, then we will see how things develop.

"I have got an idea, but we will see."

Sunderland have eased themselves into the relative comfort of mid-table with four victories in their last seven league outings and have taken seven points from the last nine on offer, but O'Neill is acutely aware that Reading, who came back from 2-0 down to draw with Chelsea in midweek, represent a genuine threat to their hopes of extending that run.

He said: "They never seem to be beaten. They were 2-0 down on Wednesday evening and were able to fight back against Chelsea, so it won't be easy for us."

Defenders Danny Rose and Carlos Cuellar could return after resuming training following hamstring injuries, but skipper Cattermole has suffered another setback in his attempts to shake off a knee problem.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders