This is what Lee Johnson has said about his Sunderland future with Black Cats facing fourth season in League One
Sunderland are facing up to the reality of a fourth season in League One with a major rebuild on the cards.
With 16 players out of contract this summer there will naturally be a major revamp of the playing squad and head coach Lee Johnson spoke in-depth about the challenge of that in his post-match press conference following the play-off exit to Lincoln City.
Johnson signed a two-and-a-half-year deal when he was appointed Sunderland head coach in December last year, replacing Phil Parkinson.
And he expects to be in charge for the promotion push next season, despite one Football League World report over the weekend claiming that the club was considering parting ways with the former Bristol City boss.
Sunderland owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus has previously spoken about his long-term plans and why he wont panic even if the Black Cats failed to win promotion.
The new chairman’s vision began with the appointments of Sporting Director Kristjaan Speakman and Chief Operating Officer Steve Davison even before his takeover had been approved, and a raft of key appointments have followed.
Ahead of the Lincoln City clash, Lee Johnson said it was the most vital of his career.
At his pre-match press conference on Friday, the Sunderland head coach was asked if he'd had assurances over his future if they lose.
Johnson said: “Certainly in terms of the contract.
“It is never a manager's decision, that. I will always respond and react like I will be here forever, knowing that through success or failure you could be gone tomorrow.
“Yes it is the biggest game, that is what it feels like. I wish I could play. I want to help the boys, everything is wrapped up in me, I am the manager, the aggressor, the fan, the one who loves the lads.
“We want to turn it around and make it a great story for everyone. It is not an ideal situation and we have to come at it as aggressively as we can.”
Sunderland exited the League One play-offs after losing 3-2 on aggregate to Lincoln City, who will now face Blackpool in the final at Wembley on Sunday afternoon.
Goals from Ross Stewart and Charlie Wyke had raised hopes Sunderland would overturn the 2-0 first leg deficit but Lincoln hit back with a much-improved second half.