Echo writer Chris Young answered readers’ questions on our live blog on sunderlandecho.com today – after the drama of Dick Advocaat’s U-turn to stay on as Sunderland head coach.
Here are some of the best questions – see the whole webchat on http://www.sunderlandecho.com/live/event?1282916
JCollinson91 asked: what made Dick do this U-turn? Is there a plan in place.
Chris Young replied: From what I understand, the U-turn was entirely down to personal reasons over the last few days.
That was always the issue, rather than the money. He’s obviously reached a settlement with the wife!
David Lee asked: Do you think Advocaat will appoint a No.2 to take over or will the club appoint someone they may have in mind?
Chris Young responded: It’s an interesting one. Zeljko Petrovic is returning as a first-team coach, and would expect Advocaat’s long-term assistant Bert van Lingen to come back too. But certainly think there is a scope for someone else to work alongside them if there’s someone suitable.
Paul Hurworth asked: So, short term sorted what’s the long term plan? How about Bolo Zenden as asst for a year with a view to making it permanent?
Chris Young replied: Not a bad shout on someone like Zenden. Certainly think there’s scope for a successor to work alongside him - an upgraded Wilkinson / Cotterill model. Depends whose available. Club has got some breathing space for a year now though.
JD asked: Any news or rumours on his transfer targets or budget? Seem to remember he gave a provisional list after safety.
Chris Young commented: Yep, he gave Congerton a list of possible targets before leaving. They’ll make a move for Coates permanently and it’s no secret they’ve been tracking Virgil van Dijk at Celtic for a while. Wouldn’t be surprised if they were the two central defenders they’re after. Would expect 5-6 new faces - 1-2 of which are likely to be loans.
richy_choc asked: Do you think we even approached anyone else or was Advocaat the sole focus?
Our man responded: They certainly investigated other avenues. They’ve had to since Advocaat turned them down and Congerton realised the importance of appointing someone ASAP. But it was no secret that Advocaat was always their number one target. They’ll be delight mixed with relief at the club over his U-turn - and among supporters too
@C5mith asked: Where.do you believe we need to strengthen the squad?
Chris Young replied: Several obvious areas to strengthen. Certainly two central defenders for one (one of which I think will be Coates) with Brown leaving. Probably central midfield too. But just as important is improving the return in the final third. Pace out wide is a must.
SAFC96LUKE asked: Do you think they’ll strengthen up front? Still think they need a specialist lone striker.
Chris Young responded: I think so. Both Fletcher and Graham are vulnerable to being moved on as they enter the final 12 months of their contract. The goals tally alone shows they need to strengthen in the final third too
RobCGrimwood asked: would Dick be more likely to keep Wes another year as a squad player / coach?
Our man said: No, I think Wes will go still. With Wes 35 and John O’Shea 34, it’s only feasible to keep one of them really. Plus it frees up wages for a fresh signing