Ex-Sunderland men remain on Alex Neil's backroom staff at Stoke plus reported target discusses move

Sunderland are preparing to return to action this weekend – while Championship clubs will also be trying to plan ahead for the upcoming World Cup break and January transfer market.

Here are some of the latest stories from around the web concerning Sunderland and some of their league rivals:

Ex-SAFC men remain on Alex Neil’s backroom team

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Former Sunderland boss Alex Neil has been discussing his new backroom team at Stoke, with many members of staff remaining in place at the bet365 Stadium.

Stoke boss Alex Neil and assistant Martin Canning. (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images)

Neil left the Black Cats to become Stoke boss at the end of August, while assistant Martin Canning also made the move.

Yet the rest of the Potters’ backroom team, including first-team coaches and former Sunderland players Rory Delap and John O’Shea, have remained in their roles.

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“I go into every club and I’ve done the same,” said Neil. “I went to Norwich with just myself for the first six weeks, Preston for the first five weeks, went into Sunderland and took one person.

"I know what I’m doing, I just need other people to help me do that and they become very important because I delegate them key roles to do what they do.”

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Reported target says move abroad was ‘a no-brainer’

During the summer, Sunderland were one of several clubs who were credited with interest in Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite.

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Championship sides Middlesbrough and Sheffield United were also linked with the 20-year-old, who instead signed a season-long loan deal at Dutch side PSV.

The move saw Branthwaite link up with former Everton director of football Marcel Brands, who played a key role in the deal.

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“Marcel signed me from Carlisle for Everton and we’ve had a really good connection since then, not just with me but my agent and family as well,” said Branthwaite.

"Once he phoned me and said PSV wanted me to come, it was a no-brainer. I have trust in him and it’s a great club."

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Bennette sits out international fixture

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Finally, Sunderland winger Jewison Bennette was an unused substitute as Costa Rica beat Uzbekistan 2-1 in a friendly match.

Black Cats boss Tony Mowbray has confirmed the teenager isn’t expected back on Wearside until Friday, a day before Sunderland’s match against Preston.