After another dramatic week in Sunderland’s summer of change, Jack Ross insists he will focus on improving the players eager to play their part.
The Black Cats will be eager to make at least five additions to their first team set-up in the coming weeks but after watching his side impress in a 6-0 win over St Mirren, Ross remains relaxed about the situation.
He said: “The only thing I can affect is the work we do on the training pitch, the preparation, how organised we are, and how we get players to buy into what we are doing.
“Whether that’s with six players on the training pitch or 26, that’s what my focus is on.
“As far as the recruitment side is concerned, we have identified players and some we will get and some we won’t.
“Whoever we have when the window closes on August 9, I just have to make better.”
Ross’ options were further diminished last week by the depature of Callum McManaman, a player who had impressed in pre-season but decided to return to Wigan Athletic.
Ross insists he has no problem with the winger’s decision.
“It’s part of the challenge of being a manager,” he said.
“Callum had been really good for us in pre-season, and he had said publicly that he was really enjoying it.
“But he also wanted to go back to Wigan for professional and personal reasons. Once a player has decided that, I don’t have an issue with it.
“I want players here who are desperate to be here - and that is no slight on Callum.”
Ross is eager to add one more centre-back to his squad, while the search for extra attacking firepower goes on.
The Black Cats are set to miss out on one of their top transfer targets with Cheltenham Town striker Mo Eisa expected to sign for Bristol City.
Sunderland have been battling Peterborough United and Portsmouth for his signature this week and the Black Cats had a £1million bid turned down.
Championship side Bristol City, managed by Lee Johnson, the son of Cheltenham Town boss Gary Johnson, have now come in with a better offer, with Eisa expected to join them.
Reports in Cheltenham say Bristol City have put in an offer larger up front than both Sunderland and Pompey, their offer is thought to be £1.5million in total over a period of time.
Cheltenham valued the striker at £1.5million.
Eisa has only been a Cheltenham player for a little over a year, he scored 25 goals and won the supporters’ and players’ player of the year awards.
Sunderland retain a strong interest in Charlie Wyke, though their pursuit has been complicated by an injury the striker has picked up.
The Black Cats have also been monitoring Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp, alongside Wyke’s Braford City.
Sharp was a regular for the Blades last season and scored 14 goals, but Chris Wilder looks set to add at least two centre-forwards to his ranks this summer.
Wilder currently has David McGoldrick on trial and has also placed a bid for former Black Cats Martyn Waghorn.
A deal for Reading midfielder George Evans is in the balance, with chairman Stewart Donald hinting on twitter that the player was now stalling on a deal.
He said: “We agree a fee 4 a player & personal terms. We want him Monday to come & sign but he now says he wants to see if he can get a move to Championship!
“Fair enough but we were committed to pay money to sign him. It will happen - I am frustrated too!!”