Jack Ross already has plans in place for the January transfer window - but admits they could alter if any of Sunderland’s stars leave the club.
With the winter window set to open in just over a month, speculation is already mounting over incomings and outgoings at the Stadium of Light.
But while the rumours may only be kicking in now, Ross’ plans for the window began as soon as the summer trading period ceased.
The Scot has designs to bring in some new faces - but says that these plans could change should he fail to keep hold of any of his prize assets.
The likes of George Honeyman and Josh Maja - both out of contract next summer - have been heavily linked with moves while the window could present opportunities for the club to move on higher earners such as Lee Cattermole and Bryan Oviedo.
And Ross knows that any form of departure will likely mean he has to act more quickly then intended in January.
“What we try and do is have a fairly robust plan in place,” he said.
“The work that goes on between one window closing and the other opening has to be consistent. I don’t think you can just ramp up that work because you might lose players.
“Losing any players would obviously change how quickly we would need new players in in a certain position, but it doesn’t really impact too much on the planning side of things.”
Key to securing any incomings in January will be the Black Cats’ recruitment team, headed up by Tony Coton, and Ross has praised their impact as they work to pinpoint potential January targets.
“You have to always have an awareness of what might be available, what might fit with what you need and what fits with the budget available,” he said.
“The good thing is that we’ve managed to put a team together to do that.”
While January transfer window plans are on Ross’ mind, for the time being his focus will remain on the visit to Walsall this afternoon, and with Sunderland yet again installed as favourites, it is a tag he believes his side are now relishing.
“I think it’s something they’ve grown into this season,” he added.
“As much as we have players who have played at the very top level and players who are used to dealing with being the favourites in games, I think to face it every single week has been new for everybody. Every time we go home or away we’re perceived as favourites, rightly or wrongly. “There was an adjustment period at the beginning, but I do believe that the group of players have got used to that and the challenges that come with that.
“It’s something that they actually enjoy, I enjoy it and I think the players enjoy it now. It is draining, because they know they’ve got to be at it every single week which means, if we do go on and achieve success, they’ll believe they’ve earned it.”