Martin: No messing

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Martin O’Neill will act swiftly once the season ends to sort out the future of his squad, writes Graeme Anderson.

The Sunderland boss has been clear that, while the season is on, his overwhelming priorities are the games and the results.

But, within days of the campaign closing, he intends to have sorted out the future of everyone in his playing squad in terms of who is staying, who might be allowed to leave and who will be allowed to leave.

He confirmed: “I wouldn’t want to be discussing anyone leaving until the end of the season.

“We’ve got quite a number of players still under contract.

“But I’ve got the full week after the final game and that’s probably the best time to discuss it.”

The Black Cats boss concluded one bit of business this week with the departure of Paraguayan international Cristian Riveros.

The 29-year-old, who has been on loan at Turkish side Kayserispor, has formally completed a permanent move to the club.

O’Neill had planned to have talks, but, in the end, they proved unnecessary, with the player making his views quite clear on where he wanted his future to lie.

“I didn’t have a meeting with his agent in the end,” confirmed the Sunderland manager.

“I think the player wanted to do this and there was little point in pursuing it, if that was the case.

“I would have got the same answer from the agent, because Cristian’s enjoyed himself out there and that’s what he wanted to do.

“That’s fine, so I thought we’ll sort it out and start again.”

* Full story in this weekend’s Football Echo