Will Coleman target a new goalkeeper? Should loan deal be cut short? Verdict on Sunderland’s key transfer issues

Should Sunderland cut short Brendan Galloway's loan spell to free up a loan place?
Should Sunderland cut short Brendan Galloway's loan spell to free up a loan place?
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Sunderland’s pressing need for two new strikers is at the forefront of Chris Coleman’s mind and the clock is ticking with just nine days left to sufficiently strengthen the squad.

But what about other areas that still need addressing if the Black Cats are to stay up this season?

We explore the key transfer issues Coleman and chief executive Martin Bain still have to address before the clock strikes 11pm a week on Wednesday.

Do Sunderland still need a new holding midfielder?

Darron Gibson’s groin injury, which will keep him out for up to three months, was a hammer-blow, just when he had started to have a real influence.

Sitting deep, Gibson was adept at protecting the back four but was also encouraged to showcase his range of passing. His absence leaves a big hole, keenly felt at Cardiff City.

Against Hull City, Sunderland’s midfield trio of Lee Cattermole, George Honeyman and Ethan Robson excelled, the 21-year-old academy product producing an assured display. Cattermole enjoyed his best game and while hopefully it is the start of a return to his best form, his performances have largely been below par this season.

Robson’s performance will have raised Coleman’s spirits the most but he is young and will dip in and out of the side.

The return of Jonny Williams ahead of schedule from a serious shoulder injury is also a major plus but Gibson’s boots still need to be filled.

Verdict: Cattermole was excellent against Hull but bringing in a new midfield enforcer remains key.

Should Chris Coleman target a new goalkeeper?

Sunderland have managed four clean sheets since Chris Coleman took charge with Ruiter in goal but questions remain over the Dutchman.

He was commanding against Hull but poor against Cardiff the week before, partly at fault for their opening goal.

Jason Steele has failed to convince. Max Stryjek is back but unproven and while Ruiter has the gloves it would be no surprise to see Coleman move for a new keeper.

Ex-Reading keeper Ali Al-Habsi and Leeds United stopper Andy Lonergan, 34, have been linked.

Verdict: It remains a problem area and one Sunderland must strengthen.

Which other area do Sunderland need to strengthen?

Losing Williams through injury before Coleman had even taken charge was a big blow.

He is closing in on a return but Williams has struggled with injury. Sunderland lack creative midfielders who can link midfield and attack with incisive passes.

Too often in promising positions moves break down because of a poor pass. George Honeyman and Lynden Gooch will run all day long but an experienced creative midfielder with guile and craft would make a huge difference to this Sunderland side.

Wingers Aiden McGeady and Callum McManaman are out of the side given the system being played.

Verdict: Signing strikers is the priority but if there is scope, a creative midfielder would be a useful addition.

Should Sunderland cut short Brendan Galloway loan spell?

The 21-year-old is on a season-long loan from Everton but he hasn’t impressed and hasn’t started a game since September.

Sunderland may have to come to an agreement that sees the defender return to Merseyside after just eight appearances.

He needs to be playing and cutting it short would free up a loan spot.

Verdict: It hasn’t worked out for Galloway at Sunderland, time to cut losses.