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Portsmouth v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One

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Reader’s Corner: What should Sunderland’s squad look like next season?

Today, RR reader Thomas Pugh imagines himself as head of recruitment at SAFC, and builds his squad for next season. Who does he want to keep, and who does he want to sign?

Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

While it is probable we will get some loans from clubs higher up the divisions and maybe even signings outside of England, let’s look at how our squad may shape up to be if we recruit some of the best players from this season’s League One.

Kyril Louis-Dreyfus might not want to spend too much initially so this route might not be entirely out of question if we were to recruit in a smart way. Leicester City 2009/2010 anyone?

Here’s how I’d like our squad to look like next season.


1. Craig MacGillivray: Every time we face him he always impresses me. I think that he would be a great number one. I think he may want to leave Portsmouth if things don’t pick up for them.

2. Lee Burge: He looked shaky in the first half of the season but now he has 18 clean sheets to his name. He could maybe be number one next season but I think MacGillivray would get ahead of him. Definitely deserves an extension.

Sunderland v Portsmouth - Sky Bet League One
MacGillvray has impressed Thomas whenever we’ve faced him
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

Right back

1.Luke O’Nien: Not only a right back, he can play pretty much anywhere and do a good job. Please sign that contract Luke.

2. Conor McLaughlin: Another utility player. He can play any defensive role which is very handy. Looks sturdy at right back. Worth a contract extension.

Sunderland v Lincoln City - Sky Bet League One
Worth a new contract?
Photo by Chris Vaughan - CameraSport via Getty Images

Centre back

1. Bailey Wright: Mr Reliable. Thankfully he’s already here next season and what a defender he is.

2. Arbenit Xhemajli: Contracted for next season. He looked good for about 3 minutes until he got a bad injury. Let’s hope he’s up for it next season.

3. Dion Sanderson: Far too good for this league. Maybe a tad unrealistic but he seems to love playing for us. Definitely try to get him back on loan.

4. Jordan Willis: I would give him a contract extension. Shame he gets injured a fair bit but he’s solid on a match day.

5. Tom Flanagan: I think he’s susceptible to fast wingers but he can put in a good performance from time to time. Contracted for next season. Not a bad option if needed.

Sunderland v Lincoln City - Papa John’s Trophy
Will Wright be a mainstay next season?
Photo by Chris Vaughan - CameraSport via Getty Images

Left back

1. Denver Hume: Has bags of potential. Definitely earned himself an extension.

Sunderland v Burton Albion - Sky Bet League One
Hume is all we need believes Thomas
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

Right winger

1. Jordan Jones: Maybe a tall order getting him on a permanent or another loan deal. Him and Sanderson are the best loan players we’ve had in years.

2. Lynden Gooch: Like Chris Maguire, I feel like this player frustrates me but then pops up with a MOTM moment of brilliance. Already contracted for next season.

Portsmouth v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Will Jones be donning the red and white next season?
Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Centre midfield

1. George Honeyman: This is a very Manchester United move but I would have him back. He has passion and he’s proving what a mistake it was letting him go. An assist machine this season.

2. Carl Winchester: Contracted for next season. What a player to have in our arsenal. He has stepped up big time and we could utilise his pace.

3. Aiden O’Brien: More of an attacking role and sometimes plays up front. A physical player who is contracted for next season.

4. Josh Sims: 24 years old on loan from Southampton to Doncaster. A winger who can play in midfield.

5. Elliot Embleton: Currently on loan at Blackpool from us. Physical number 10. Needs to be playing for us next season.

Hull City v Gillingham - Sky Bet League One
Thomas would like to see Honeyman rejoin the club
Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

Left winger

1. Aiden McGeady: Expired contract, but I think he will want to sign an extension as he might see his final years here. Also, what a magnificent player.

2. Ronan Curtis: I really like this player. I think it would be cheeky asking our good friends Portsmouth for him but I think he would be a good rotation player partnered with McGeady.

Portsmouth v Blackpool - Sky Bet League One
Curtis is another player from Portsmouth that Thomas would like to see us sign
Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images


1. Charlie Wyke: I can see this player being difficult to get an extension from. If he keeps bagging goals in, we may face tough competition from top championship teams.

2. Ross Stewart: Finally our last player who is still contracted for next season. That’s one less headache. Seems competent and his height could always come in handy.

3. Dion Charles: This player would be a steal if we got him from Accrington Stanley. He’s 25 years old. Scored many goals this season and I think he wouldn’t cost too much. I think we could maybe move Will Grigg on and Charles could take his place.

Accrington Stanley v Bristol Rovers - Sky Bet League One
Could Dion Charles be a good acquisition for us? Thomas thinks so.
Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

I think this squad of players would be a strong one. Not too expensive either and a lot of the players I’ve chosen aren’t too old bar one or two. This would suit the vision that Sunderland’s recruitment are going for.


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