SIMON GRAYSON watched Sunderland progress in the Carabao Cup last night before insisting he has not spoken to Middlesbrough about taking former Sunderland midfielder Grant Leadbitter back to the Stadium of Light.

But the Black Cats boss, whose side will face Carlisle United in the second round after beating Bury 1-0, did not rule out a move for Leadbitter.

The 31-year-old only has one year remaining on his contract at the Riverside, where Middlesbrough are keen to keep hold of him because of his Championship experience and quality.

But Grayson is weighing up ways to bolster his own squad and Leadbitter, a graduate of the Sunderland academy system who was part of the promotion party ten years ago, is known to be on his list of potential targets.

The Sunderland manager is also known to be keen on Aston Villa striker Ross McCormack, Preston’s Jordan Hugill and he is keeping an eye on defensive options too.

Asked about transfers at Gigg Lane, Grayson said: “No updates. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes. I am trying to focus on the games. Nothing new to report other than players wanting to come and us trying to sign them.”

Asked about Leadbitter, he added: “He (Grant) is part of a group of players being linked with us all the time. At this time I have not spoken to Garry (Monk). He is a Sunderland boy who has been at the club before but he is just one of a number of names we are being linked with all of the time.”

Grayson was a satisfied figure as he chatted on the touchline at Gigg Lane, where George Honeyman’s first senior goal in the 69th minute separated the two teams.

That has set up a trip to Carlisle United in the second round. He said: “Carlisle away, not far away. It’s probably classed as a local derby, not a bad draw for both teams and should be a good game.”

Sunderland controlled last night’s game at Bury without scoring until Honeyman’s intervention. Darron Gibson impressed in the centre of midfield and it was his first appearance since his argument with fans at Ramside Hall ten days ago.

Grayson said: “I was pleased with Darron in the midfield area, Didier Ndong too. He answered a few questions as well, maybe a few will have wondered why he was in the team and I thought he put on a performance.”

He added: “We knew it was going to be a tough place to come, We need to get that winning mentality going and we showed a real good attitude to this game. We defended well when we needed to defend.

“George scored a good goal, it started outside the dug-out, followed his pass, good play to spot him from Didier and then he applied a great finish. Delighted for him to see it hit the net.

“It is important we get back to back wins as soon as we can. We could have done with leaving a couple more out, we left a couple at home. But supporters go home happy and they have seen a good performance and they will now get prepared for three more games in seven days.”