Stewart Donald shares his thoughts on the January window and beyond for Sunderland

Stewart Donald is expecting a small amount of movement in the January window, and says he is confident he'll be able to help Jack Ross strengthen.

Tuesday, 30th October 2018, 10:17 am
Updated Tuesday, 30th October 2018, 10:18 am
Sunderland owner Stewart Donald

Donald has already discussed the window with Ross and identified 'one or two' areas where the manager would like to make improvements.

Like Executive Director Charlie Methven last week, the Chairman stressed the importance of staying inside the EFL's financial framework but painted a positive picture ahead of the winter window.

Sunderland owner Stewart Donald

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"We've given this league commitment that we'll stay within certain figures but we were cautious with that," Donald told the Roker Report podcast.

"We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to deliver the numbers and it that way it has been a very pressurised six months to try and deliver the result.

"We haven't got the wage bill down quite as much as what we thought we would.

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"In reality, one transfer window probably wasn't enough. But in the rest of the club we've done really well and I think that should enable us to have the January we need.

"We've got stay within the framework but I think there'll be a little bit of movement around anyway, with a couple of players that might depart.

"Jack and I have already talked about strengthening one or two areas and I think we'll be able to do that."

January planning is well under way, with Donald confirming that head of recruitment Tony Coton is contributing despite his quintuple heart bypass last month.

"He's on the mend, sat watching videos of players and busy as ever," Donald said.

"He's still working pretty hard and receiving a lot of calls, so it hasn't affected it us too much.

"He's well on the mend."

Like Methven, Donald added that moving on a high earner would help clear the way for fresh business but added that he didn't see Lee Cattermole leaving the club.

Donald hailed the performances of the midfielder and said that the club could manage his wage commitments.

The Chairman said the work done behind the scenes had made the club 'financially safe', and shared his thoughts on how it could progress in the coming years.

He insists they could compete in the Championship.

"We need players [in January] who are good enough to get us out of this league and good enough for the Championship," Methven said.

"They're the type of players that we'll be looking for.

"I've spoken to some clubs and the most logical one is Chris Wilder, when you look at what he's doing.

"He got a big club promoted from League One, probably not as big as Sunderland, got them on the edge of the play-offs in the first year and now they're top.

"I've got a rough idea of how much that cost, we discussed that with Jack and Richard and said 'that's a model'.

"Then I asked Richard [Hill] about a club he knew with a budget of £40 million and they're struggling," he added.

"It's about spending well, the right manager, the right momentum etc.

"One of the things the manager said was you can spend £6,000 on a left-back or £30,000 in the Championship and sometimes the difference is not a lot.

"So what I would say is if we got promoted, would we expect to compete? Absolutely, yes."