Sunderland may have added a dozen new faces in the summer but the rebuilding job is very much an ongoing process.
The January transfer window is just around the corner and while the Black Cats don’t need a huge influx, Jack Ross is weighing up making a couple of additions.
Much will also depend on which players may leave in January, with Stewart Donald indicating a ‘couple’ may depart.
Donald told the Roker Report podcast: “We’ve got to stay within the framework but I think there’ll be a little bit of movement around anyway, with a couple of players that might depart.
“Jack and I have already talked about strengthening one or two areas and I think we’ll be able to do that.”
We examine the players most likely to leave.
The emergence of Denver Hume, currently out with a knee injury, and the impressive recent form of Reece James has meant Oviedo could move on in the new year and not too many tears would be shed.
The 28-year-old has made nine league appearances, having been suspended for three for his red against Peterborough United.
The left-back missed the Plymouth win with a calf injury but faces a battle to regain his place anyway due to James’ form.
There was a lack of suitors in the summer but if Sunderland could move on one of the club’s highest earners then they must look to do so.
Lee Cattermole/Aiden McGeady/Adam Matthews:
Cattermole, currently nursing a foot injury, has been a revelation and he has spoken openly about why he wanted to stay on Wearside but he remains one of the highest earners and if a bid came in then Sunderland would have to consider it.
Same goes for Aiden McGeady and Adam Matthews, two of the higher earners.
Ross would be reluctant to lose his No.1 right back in Matthews given there are few other options. McGeady too has shown his class in the wins over Southend United and Plymouth Argyle but if a bid came in then it would be hard to turn down.
If either of those were to leave then bringing in a new full back/wide option would become a priority.
He survived the summer goalkeeping cull but has been restricted to Checkatrade Trophy games since given the form of Jon McLaughlin.
Max Stryjek has impressed at Eastleigh and it would be no surprise to see the club move on Ruiter and promote Stryjek up the order.
The 23-year-old has been restricted by injuries and only made four appearances, though Sunderland are unbeaten in the games he has featured in.
Love has, though, been unconvincing and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he were to depart.
Possible loan moves: Bali Mumba, Andrew Nelson, Ethan Robson, Max Stryjek
Sunderland may decide to send some of their younger players out on loan, the likes of striker Andrew Nelson, closing in on fitness, Ethan Robson when he returns from injury and possibly another loan stint for Stryjek.
Promising Bali Mumba has only just turned 17 so Sunderland will likely look to keep him at the club for now rather than send him out on loan.