This is what Stewart Donald has told Phil Parkinson about Sunderland's transfer plans as club set for sale

Stewart Donald has reassured Phil Parkinson that his January plans won’t be affected by his decision to actively seek a new owner for the club.

Tuesday, 31st December 2019, 1:39 pm

The Black Cats’ majority shareholder is set to increase his efforts to find a buyer in the coming weeks, following fan protests and the #DonaldOut campaign.

And while Parkinson admits that the timing of his announcement is ‘not ideal’ – given there is a crucial January transfer window on the horizon – he has revealed that Donald remains committed to the transfer plans already put in place.

“Obviously over the last few days, we’ve been trying to focus on the training ground and picking the right team,” he said.

Sign up to our Sunderland AFC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Stewart Donald has reassured Phil Parkinson over Sunderland's January transfer plans

“The news broke about the supporters and obviously the chairman’s response. The concerning element of that is that I’ve been in dialogue with the owner for a while about what we need to do in January, and he’s been fully supportive.

“The good news from my point of view is that he remains supportive in continuing to put those plans in place to try and improve the squad and help the existing players we’ve got.

“That’s a relief from my point of view, because the recruitment team have been working very hard in the background to give us options and the staff have been watching those players, and I really don’t want to see that de-railed.”

“It’s an awkward time really, because it is a crucial time in the next couple of weeks or so in terms of attracting the right players to the club,” he added.

“It’s not ideal, but I’ve spoken to the owner this morning and he’s fully committed to continuing those plans to bring players in.”

Parkinson, having spoken with Donald after he announced his intentions to move on, also revealed how the Sunderland owner has reacted behind the scenes.

“I think he’s frustrated,” said Parkinson.

“I think everybody knows what a job this has been, to restructure everything at the club, and how difficult it has been since day one.

“Managing a football club is tough, but owning a football club can be a thankless role.”