NIALL Quinn admits Sunderland need to embark on a significant recruitment drive this summer after seeing Steve Bruce’s side reduced to its bare bones in the second half of the season.
Before Christmas, Quinn had been expecting to sign a select few in the close season rather than the radical reshaping which has taken place every year since he became Sunderland chairman.
But the injuries which have ravaged Sunderland over the last four months have emphasised that Black Cats boss Bruce needs more depth to a squad which will be further depleted in the summer.
Although Sunderland have virtually secured a permanent deal for Ahmed Elmohamady, the futures of his four fellow loanees – Nedum Onuoha, Danny Welbeck, Sulley Muntari and John Mensah – remain uncertain.
With Sunderland also yet to replace the departed Darren Bent, suffering a new long-term injury to Fraizer Campbell and expected to offload flops Marcos Angeleri and Cristian Riveros, Bruce’s options will be down to the bare bones.
But chairman Quinn insists the Black Cats will ensure any new recruits can handle the weight of expectation at the Stadium of Light.
Quinn said: “We know we were short this year. The manager wasn’t given the fairest hand to deal with in relation to some.
“The example I give is Stoke, who are near enough to us in the league and have had a better FA Cup run than us. Stoke have six top-class centre-forwards to choose from.
“We have to do a lot of things and there is a lot of hard work to do this summer. But it’s not going to be willy, nilly signing players, they need to buy into the toughness of being a Sunderland player.
“Buying that sort of person – who buys into it and won’t shirk responsibility – that is vital. We need people who will join into the team spirit we have here which, at times, has been a big strength we’ve got.
“It’s an ongoing exercise and it’s something we’re all up for.”
Last weekend’s victory over Wigan has at least given Quinn the chance to refocus his attention on recruitment rather than worrying about the threat of relegation.
He added: “I’m sleeping better now. I’m in a better mood after the weekend. I’ve had a bit of sleep the last couple of nights.
“We needed that – we needed the win. In truth, once the confidence came back, you could see we have a decent team.
“When the confidence was drained over the last couple of months it took something exceptional to get us out of it but when it comes back, people realise we’re not bad.
“People who watched the game realise it’s a confidence thing with us – when we get going we look great, When we’re under pressure it eats at us a little bit.
“People stepped up to the plate on Saturday. (Stephane) Sessegnon was magnificent. We know what a good player he is – people saw glimpses of it, but when you’re in a losing run it’s hard because people get side-tracked by results and how the team is playing.”