Sunderland’s January reinforcements will have to embrace a relegation fight which will endure for several more months, insists Sam Allardyce.
Despite making eight signings during the summer, Sunderland will be in the market for further recruits in the upcoming transfer window, albeit Allardyce and sporting director Lee Congerton – who remains in his role at the club – are only in the early stages of their planning.
We will not be out of our position or anywhere near safe when the window opens, that’s for sureSam Allardyce
Sunderland’s dire defensive record of 25 goals conceded in the opening 11 games is an obvious area to strengthen, although Allardyce is not solely focused on bringing in fresh faces at the back.
Allardyce is on the look-out for any new recruits who would improve his options throughout the side, with Sunderland, Newcastle and West Brom all linked with unsettled Spurs winger Andros Townsend yesterday.
But the Sunderland manager expects to still be engulfed in the thick of the relegation dogfight during the January transfer window and says any fresh faces will need to accept that it will be a long haul to survival.
Allardyce told the Echo: “I think we have to look at the whole structure of the squad in January and say ‘is there a better player out there, which will bring us something better than we already have?’
“We will not be out of our position or anywhere near safe when the window opens, that’s for sure.
“Hopefully we can get someone in along the way to help us out of that position.
“It’s probably going to be the end of March – if we’re really lucky – before we could be safe.
“That’s if we put a run of wins together on a pretty regular basis.
“If we don’t, then we’ll be down there for a long, long time, because even when you win one, someone else will do the same.
“When you look at the teams who have got out of similar situations, it’s always at the back end of the season.
“We’ve got to try to get out of this as quick as we can, so, in the end, we don’t have to rely on winning four out of six, or something bizarre like that.”