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New Sunderland boss Simon Grayson is showing interest in Aston Villa striker Ross McCormack ahead of the Black Cats’ attempts of returning to the Premier League at the first time of asking, according to the Daily Mail.

The 30-year-old has struggled to replicate his free scoring form of previous years at Fulham and Leeds United since joining Villa Park from the Cottagers last summer, and has been in the middle of several high-profile disagreements with Villans boss Steve Bruce during that 12-month spell.

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The combination of these played a big role in the 13-times capped Scotland international finding himself out on-loan after making just 20 appearances for the Midlands club following his £12million switch from West London.

However, even during the short-term stint with fellow Championship side Nottingham Forest McCormack only featured seven times in all competitions, with just three of those as part of the Reds’ starting XI.

It therefore may come as a surprise that Aston Villa manager Bruce is looking to rekindle the relationship between himself and the prolific frontman, with the former Manchester United defender hoping he can play a significant role in helping the 13-place finishers of last term provide a better return this time around.

But the Villa Park hierarchy will be wary that their potential star man is also of interest to recently-relegated Sunderland, with the Black Cats looking to replace the departed Jermain Defoe who joined Bournemouth on a free transfer earlier this summer.

The Wearsiders have recently added former League One striker James Vaughan to their squad, however it remains to be seen whether the 29-year-old has what it takes to be a consistent goal-threat at a higher level.

Stadium of Light boss Grayson will be aware of this and sees McCormack as a potential target to guarantee goals in the second-tier of English football.

But with his Villa counterpart now prepared to rebuild bridges that have previously been burnt with the Scot, it may either take a large bid to prise the 30-year-old away or the Black Cats manager may have to look elsewhere for a dependant talisman this summer.