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It’s almost transfer time - so where do Sunderland need to strengthen their squad?

What areas would you be looking at now to strengthen in January with only a month or so before the window opens?

Malc Dugdale says...

This is a hard one to call as we have a decent squad, but a lot of the fringe players are still developing and growing into their roles. The club may back these lads to succeed in time rather than buying more players in such places, especially in a winter window which typically is not easy to do well in.

The one place I would like us to strengthen is around a replacement for Corry Evans, as I assume even if he does get back from the huge injury he has suffered, he is already 33 and doesn’t really fit our model. We need options to both cover and also free up Dan Neil and Pierre Ekwah, as they are both immense going forward, but are presently holding back at times to help cover the back four.

Someone to put a foot on the ball and feed the midfield and forwards over and above these two makes sense to me.

With Pembele on the way back from injury to cover the full backs, and Seelt and Triantis showing they can step up and do a decent job against Birmingham (even when we lost both our first choice centre backs), I don’t think we will buy much more defensive cover.

Central and advanced Midfield is already pretty busy and has a lot of emerging talent on the way, and up front we probably have enough if we can make a couple of them click. Rusyn and Mayenda look to be the most promising chance of that, so maybe we will let that develop before buying anything in the attack area.

If we sell players we will need to replace, and I will let the other lads comment on that, but after recent games my biggest ask is more cover at defensive midfield, as that will enable us to get even more from two very talented young lads in Ekwah and Neil, who can do a lot of magic further up the pitch.

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Gary Engel says...

Before the window slammed shut we were close to completing a deal for a physical defensive central midfielder. With Evans due back in January it may seem a strange position to highlight, but hear me out. Saturday did highlight out lack of experience defensively, we came through the test unscathed.

However, I couldn’t help feel an experienced head (maybe a 23 - 24 year old) sitting in front of a young backline would have calmed a few nerves early on. Or perhaps someone capable of slotting into a back four or back three if required.

I would have liked to see someone like Sanderson come back before his permanent move to Birmingham. A centre back by trade with the reassurance on the ball to potentially make a move to central defensive midfield - a modern day Kevin Ball. After all, it would fit into our model, spotting a talent capable of developing into a much more profitable asset.

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Jon Guy says...

I think it will really depend on who if anyone goes out of the door.

Clarke will no doubt be in demand, but you would hope he would stay this season to finish the job with us. I think Dan Ballard might be another who generates some interest.

If they head out the door, we need to invest in some replacements that have some experience at a decent level.

That aside with the return of some of our long-term injured such as Alese and Evans, it will be like a few new signings back in the squad.

I would love someone who could be our ball winner in the midfield, but if Evans comes back it may solve that problem. If I was being really picky maybe we get an experienced striker to take a bit of pressure off the current crop, but we have seen signs in the last couple of games that we have a couple who look to be coming good.

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