With a long summer ahead and another large squad reshuffle on the cards, I thought I’d look at each individual member of the squad and try and determine their future.
Robbin Ruiter (Sell): Ruiter has already announced his departure as his contract runs out very soon.
Jon McLaughlin (Keep): Without the Scottish keeper, we would arguably have finished mid table- McLaughlin has been indispensable between the sticks.
Max Stryjek (Keep): Max would be a good backup and being in the squad consistently would give him bags of experience for the future. Perhaps he could play the “Cup keeper” role that Ruiter played last year.
Luke O’Nien (Keep): Luke has been a revelation at right back but next year will be hoping to feature more in midfield. Our young player of the year has shown a fantastic willingness to learn and become a firm favourite.
Adam Matthews (Sell): Matthews has been in and out since signing from Celtic, and Donald and co. could do with getting him off the wage bill; not to mention his contract is expiring.
Donald Love (Sell): Since signing from Manchester United the fullback has been incredibly poor and become somewhat of a joke figure on Wearside.
Glenn Loovens (Sell): Loovens has not been up to standard and needs to leave.
Jack Baldwin (Keep): Although seeing a drop in form and being removed from the match day squad, Baldwin has shown flashes of quality and may prove valuable next season as a squad player.
Tom Flanagan (Sell): Flanagan has a tendency to lose concentration, and it’s cost us too many points this season.
Alim Ozturk (Keep): The mighty Turk has been excellent in the back end of the season and deserves another chance.
Denver Hume (Keep): Struggled with injuries but when played Hume has looked solid. Certainly one to watch for the future.
Bryan Oviedo (Sell): Oviedo is still on Premier League wages and Ross will look to shift him on. He’s a professional and a class act so he will have plenty of suitors.
Reece James (Keep): James is a solid defender and a valuable left back, especially if Oviedo leaves.
Dylan McGeouch (Keep): Perhaps the best in the squad at ball retention, Dylan has struggles with minor injuries and fallen down the pecking order. However, he can still prove to be a valuable asset next season.
George Honeyman (Sell): The captain hasn’t had the proper leadership qualities this season and has failed to influence many games. Although he is energetic, many fans feel that he lacks the skill to play in the number ten position.
Lee Cattermole (Keep): This will be a difficult one for Ross, as Catts is on extortionate wages. However, Lee Barry clearly loves the club, and has stepped up when not many others have.
Grant Leadbitter (Keep): Like Cattermole, Grant loves Sunderland. He has struggled for form recently, but he will kick in with a full preseason behind him.
Max Power (Keep): The ex-Wigan man’s energy was sorely lost in the playoff final as Max went off injured early. The midfield looks exposed when Power isn’t there to provide the legs for Cattermole and Leadbitter.
Bali Mumba (Keep): The brightest talent in the squad, Mumba is a must-Keep and will hopefully have a more prominent role next season.
Chris Maguire (Keep): The King has been sensational and surprised everyone with his attitude this season.
Aiden McGeady (Keep): Ross should try to keep Aiden, but it looks unlikely after a stunning season and the fact he’s on extremely high wages.
Lynden Gooch (Keep): Since signing a new contract Gooch hasn’t been the same, with poor decision making and no end product. However, he is a hard worker and would be a good squad player.
Duncan Watmore (Sell): Perhaps it’s time to cut our losses with the roadrunner and let the now 25-year-old further his career elsewhere.
Charlie Wyke (Keep): Wyke can be excellent when in good confidence, as we saw at the end of the season. Also a decent target man, which fits Ross’ system perfectly.
Will Grigg (Keep): Although the pair arguably can’t play together, Grigg and Wyke both have points to prove next year. Grigg should kick on when fully fit and after a preseason.
Benji Kimpioka (Keep): Kimpioka is an enigma and defences can’t deal with him. Can provide the wildcard option from the bench against tired teams on the break.