Transfer Tittle-tattle...

Stewart Donald has tried to ease fans' nerves, as Sunderland's transfer window is yet to yield any results: "Yes we have lots of signings to make and we will. We can’t be beaten to a signing of a player we don’t want to sign. We have plenty of targets and we haven’t lost any yet. I am sure we can compete with the teams we need to for signatures. We have lots of targets. I know people want signings and see players being missed but we are on it and we can compete if we want a player! Jack Ross has his targets and we are working on those. I am sure we will see some activity soon enough! We are not delaying, we are negotiating with our targets. There is a lot of work to do in and out. It will all begin soon enough."

Meanwhile, new Sunderland head of recruitment Tony Coton has opened up about why he left Aston Villa to come to the club: “I was enjoying it at Aston Villa, I really was,” he says. “I know that neck of the woods but we had the disappointment of the play-off final. The lack of investment into the team since Steve Bruce has been in charge was a disappointment because we were putting in the work identifying players and we were only able to get loans in. Obviously there are certain clubs but there weren’t many I would have come to. I probably would have stayed where I was but the nature of the owners and the chance to work for a young management team with great ideas and very similar philosophies who by their own admission need some help was hard to resist. It’s a chance to be in amongst it and take on a massive challenge before I retire, whenever that is.”

The former Sunderland keeper then went on to explain the recruitment strategy, and ensures Sunderland will be looking at number of options: “There’s no remit in terms of us saying we’re not taking anyone over 30 or under 19, or whatever it is, if they’re good enough, they’re old enough, and if they’re experienced and they’ve still got their legs, we’ll be interested in them too. We’re looking at all options. We haven’t got tunnel vision, we’re going into it really wide-eyed.”

Jack on Pre-Season

Sunderland manager Jack Ross insists he cannot wait for pre-season and the challenge that awaits, as he looks to build a squad ready for the new season: "The trip to Portugal was in place before I took the job, but I’m happy it was because it’s an opportunity to spend time with the players and staff. It’s 24/7 and that’s beneficial on the pitch as well as off it, so it can only benefit us and I’m pleased it’s there. It’s part of the challenge [going away with a group that might change before the start of the season]. I came in with my eyes wide-open to the challenges I would face, but certainly in this initial period, it’s a set of fairly unusual circumstances as normally any manager would tell you they would like to have as much in place as they can. Whatever we go with, and whatever we have at that stage, we will make the most of and we’ll get the most we can out of the trip, so they’ll be elements that stand us in good stead.”