WATCH: "If I was at Sunderland, I'd be pulling my hair out" - Keith Andrews

Ex-Ireland midfielder previews the Championship season on Off The Ball and talks Darron Gibson

Sunderland, Stadium of light

Sunderland's Stadium of Light. Richard Sellers/PA Wire/PA Images

As Sunderland prepare for their first season back in the Championship, the mood music has to be worrying for their fans.

In a way, the Darron Gibson story - his blunt criticism of the attitude of some of his team-mates for one - highlights that.

With David Moyes having left at the end of last season, it's a safe pair of hands in Simon Grayson who has been left with the task of piecing the first team squad back together.

But former Ireland and Blackburn Rovers midfielder Keith Andrews is unimpressed with what the manager has to work with as he told Off The Ball in our Championship season preview.

"If I was at Sunderland, I would be pulling my hair out because that club has been struggling for years," he said.

"I think it's four to five years that they didn't get 40 points in the Premier League, so it's not as if this has crept up on Sunderland. You look at the transfer dealings they've done this summer. They've only really managed to recoup money for Jordan Pickford who's a product of their youth system. The squad is poor, really poor. What's left? There is a sprinkling of quality but that may well go back to Darron Gibson's point that they don't want to be there." 

Sunderland's Darron Gibson. Paul Thomas/EMPICS Sport

As for Gibson, Andrews said that he was "very naive" in the situation where he was filmed by Sunderland fans criticising colleagues. 

"He shouldn't have said what he said in the company he was in," he said.

"He's right in what he said but he shouldn't have said it in the company that he was in."

Andrews also added that his former Ireland midfield colleague really needs to focus on himself rather than on team-mates after an underwhelming past few seasons affected by injury, while he is also optimistic that Ireland winger Aiden McGeady can thrive at the Stadium of Light, describing him as a "good signing".

You can listen to Keith's full Championship preview on the podcast player or on iTunes: