The key issues Jack Ross and Stewart Donald are still keen to resolve after permanent window shuts

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The imminent arrival of Max Power takes Jack Ross one step closer to the squad he feels he needs for a League One promotion push.

Energetic, experienced and capable of delivering in the final third, Power strengthens an impressive array of midfield options.

Sunderland manager Jack Ross.

Sunderland manager Jack Ross.

A touch of height and physicality is perhaps still missing, but there are goals, quality and the kind of stamina required to implement the kind of pressing game Ross demands.

He would still like to add a player to his forward line, with a loan swoop most likely.

Manchester United’s James Wilson has been on the club’s radar for much of the summer.

He has struggled for gametime since a serious knee injury while on loan at Derby County, but the Black Cats received positive reports of his attitude, fitness and ability during a spell at Sheffield United last season.

Wilson would have had more opportunities were it not for the sensational form of Leon Clarke.

If it is not Wilson, then it will likely be a player with a similar profile.

Ross, while keen to strengthen, is acutely aware that too many additions risk upsetting the harmony of his squad when key players return from injury.

So while one or two more faces would be welcome, significant further business is unlikely.

He said: “My time has been spent watching and identifying players, and finding as much out about them as I possibly can, before passing it on to them [Tony Coton and Richard Hill].

With the loan window being open beyond Thursday, it makes it a little bit different – that option is still available to us, and it’s an important option for us to have because we are going into the weekend with only one striker in our squad in Josh.

“Whether we can get anyone in time for the weekend, remains to be seen.

“It is a balancing act. If you bring players in now, when the injured lads are fit we might find ourselves top-heavy in certain areas.

“On the one side, given the number of games and the cup competitions, it could be a 60-game season so we obviously need to use the squad.

“I’m conscious of that but I have to control it on the training pitch, and I don’t want us to be top-heavy.

“You don’t want to bring in players just for the sake of it. But there are one or two areas where we could do with more options, not just now but as the season unfolds and hopefully we’ll get them, if not permanently, then certainly on a loan basis.”

The focus in the coming weeks from a financial perspective will be offloading a number of high earners.

Didier Ndong and Papy Djilobodji are likely to depart, while offers for Bryan Oviedo and Lee Cattermole would be entertained.

Their presence at the club is unlikely to prevent Sunderland bringing in another striker, but Ross admits that movement would be welcome for the club.

“I did say on my first day that I never asked about my budget.

“It’s been true right the way through, I’ve just identified players, some that we’ve managed to get in and then once I’ve got a group I think I go with, we take it from there.

“Stewart and I get on really well and if he was to pop his head at 9am one morning and say that I can bring in two, I’d have a list.

“But I’ve not really been banging his door down trying to get players in, I’m fairly comfortable with where I’m at and I’m fairly comfortable that the relationship we have, that anytime he can help in respect of the playing squad, he’ll do that.

“But it’s pretty obvious that if they [Ndong and Djilobodji] weren’t here, it would help us.

Sunderland, of course, remain vulnerable to offers for their own players as long as the loan window remains open for other football league clubs.

The Black Cats lost Callum McManaman just as he looked set to make a real impact, but Ross believes that his chairman will rebuff interest in other key figures.

“It’s been overlooked a bit because of everything else but there’s still players who will be attractive to teams,” Ross said.

“I’ve been very clear to Stewart that I didn’t want to lose any who were part of my plans because we’ve had to work hard to get them into a good frame of mind and feeling positive about themselves.

“Callum left earlier in the window who looked like he would be an asset, but I’ve been quite strong and Stewart has been supportive of that.”

Sunderland’s remarkable summer is not quite over yet.