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OPINION: Should Jack Ross start Sunderland’s Championship recruitment in January?

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Sunderland can’t stop winning right now and are odds-on for promotion. However, is it too early to prepare for life in a higher division, or a risk worth taking?

Ross in the dugout on Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Plymouth Argyle at Home Park
Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Sunderland are absolutely flying at the moment, and with victories coming thick and fast it’s easy to get just a bit carried away.

That being said, surely the aim of this campaign is promotion? To secure that aim we will potentially need to bolster our options in the upcoming transfer window.

January will be here before we know it, and Sunderland need to keep ahead of the curve they have generated with their ferocious start to the campaign.

It is not too presumptuous to assume that Jack Ross can begin to buy for the Championship. Many of the sort of players we need are currently out there playing for second tier sides, probably not setting the world alight yet are going about their business quietly. Going into this part of the season often it is a players’ consistency to keep a calm head which proves the difference.

By looking a division higher than we currently find ourselves in, we will often find players with that experience of our current league as well as finding assets for next season early.

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

The right balance needs to be found in order to propel momentum if we do get promoted - and the January window could see the departure of two more high earners should the owners wish to carry on the trimming down of weekly costs.

Bryan Oviedo looks to have been overlooked by Jack Ross as first choice left-back since returning from the suspension caused by the petulance against Peterborough, with Reece James nailing down the position in recent weeks. Crucially, he is also the highest earner currently at the club, and accounts for a huge percentage of the current wage budget.

Cover may be needed in this position should Oviedo leave and ideally it should come in the form of a player who has had experience in the Championship.

He has to be a player who is an improvement upon James, there is no point signing backup players of lesser ability. Either way, a hefty sum of money would be freed up with the departure of Oviedo and we can all be confident that Donald will put it to good use (unlike in ownership regimes of the past) at either left-back or by strengthening elsewhere.

Oviedo may be off in January due to the size of his wages, is it the right thing to do?
Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Aiden McGeady is a player who many feel is still destined to leave Wearside in January despite a recent run in the first team. Three goals in his last two appearances would have done no harm in a bid for a permanent position, but whether McGeady wants it is the all-important question.

Our options out wide are arguably the best in the division this season but if McGeady does leave then a replacement is important. It will be harder to attract a player of his calibre whilst still being in League One, only promotion could attract this kind of talent. Many players would not want even half a season at this level, fortunately these are the sorts of players no longer welcome at the SoL.

For the Championship we need the sorts of players which came into the club last summer. For me, the quality of player is not as important as some would imagine. The Championship as a whole isn’t a great deal better than some of the top sides in League One.

If we can bring in a minimally better Chris Maguire, for example, to play alongside the man himself then we could go about constructing a side which could hold its own in the Championship.