Kevin Phillips has this message for Kristjaan Speakman as Sunderland's rivals make managerial decision

Sunderland are just days away from the start of the League One play-offs.

Monday, 17th May 2021, 4:30 pm

Lee Johnson’s Black Cats face Lincoln City in the semi-final first leg on Wednesday.

And fans have been permitted into stadiums to watch both home and away ties after the easing of lockdown restrictions in England.

That means the Stadium of Light will welcome 10,000 Sunderland fans for the second leg on Wearside this coming Saturday

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Sunderland sporting director Kristjaan Speakman

Here, though, we round-up all the chatter surrounding Sunderland and their League One that you may have missed today:

Sunderland’s League One rivals appoint new manager

Doncaster Rovers have appointed Richie Wellens as their new first-team manager.

That the 41-year-old has completed his return to the Keepmoat where he spent two spells as a player.

The League One club saw previous boss Darren Moore depart in March to take charge of crisis-hit neighbours Sheffield Wednesday.

That left Andy Butler to take the reins at the Keepmoat until the end of the season.

But Rovers have now turned to Wellens, who will reportedly be assisted by former Republic of Ireland international striker Noel Hunt, his assistant in his previous job at Salford City.

Kevin Phillips has this message for Sunderland sporting director Kristjaan Speakman

Kevin Phillips has delivered his verdict on Kristjaan Speakman’s recent SAFC Unfiltered appearance.

During the podcast, Sunderland’s sporting director explained that ‘players who want to play in the Championship are going to require more money’ but insisted it wouldn't be an ‘issue’ going forward.

Speaking to Football Insider, Phillips responded to Speakman’s comments: “It is great to hear Speakman say that. It is encouraging.

“Sunderland need to be careful with handing out new contracts this summer because they have had their fingers burnt before. They have splashed out too much on giving big players big wages.

“The obvious one that springs to mind is Rodwell. It really stung them in the backside so I hope they get the balance right with the next round of contracts.

“Kyril Louis-Dreyfus is only young but I am sure he has people in his ear giving him sound advice. I don’t think they will be held to ransom.

“Yes, you need to pay players well if you want to have the best but I just hope they don’t get it wrong this time.”

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