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Sunderland v Luton Town: Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Semi-Final First Leg

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Roker Roundtable: Thoughts on Sunderland’s 2023/2024 prospects!

Ahead of the fixtures being released today, we asked our writers for their thoughts on how the Lads might fare once the new season kicks off

Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

Andy Thompson says…

I’m feeling confident that a good season lies ahead, especially if we can keep our squad fit!

We’ve done some excellent business in tying down some consistent performers to better deals and have acted quickly to recruit three young and exciting prospects in areas we desperately needed to address, especially when it comes to their physicality.

I think we will recruit further this window, and I look forward to who else will join the club. The big question is if anyone will leave. I certainly hope not, but the model is to make big profits on players and reinvest.

However, the squad seem together and there is a real unity about the club. I can’t help but think that if this squad is kept together, we will have a genuine shot at cementing ourselves in the chasing pack for promotion.

It will be a competitive league this time around, but if we can get a decent run of results early on in the season I can see us going from strength to strength. We will need a little bit of luck and fewer injuries than last year but I’m definitely confident we can push on from the successes of last season.

Sunderland Unviel New Signing Luis Semedo Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Joseph Tulip says…

With no key departures so far and three exciting signings through the door, it’s natural to be feeling confident ahead of the new season.

While this is a healthy position for all those of a Sunderland persuasion, I don’t want the unifying spirit and atmosphere of last season to be dampened in any way by expectation.

It’s obvious that people will fancy our young side to build on our 6th-place finish, but expectation can be a killer in football.

I’d urge everyone to enjoy looking at the fixture list, and over the coming days and weeks, keep an enthusiastic eye on transfer developments as we move into pre-season.

But regardless of how we begin our Championship campaign, let’s remember just how far our club and our young team has come in a relatively short space of time.

Let's not get sucked into thinking that anything but promotion will be deemed a failure because those players, as talented as they are, way exceeded our expectations last season.

We are building as a club, but we’re no longer chasing short-term fixes. One day we will return to the promised land of the Premier League, but we’ll do so when we’re good and ready. Whether it’s next season or not, let’s do what we did last time - enjoy the football, embrace it, and get behind the Lads at all times and keep giving them the support that we all know can be a major factor in terms of momentum and results.

Sunderland v Luton Town: Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Semi-Final First Leg Photo by George Wood/Getty Images

Martin Wanless says…

I’m really looking forward to the new season, and have complete faith in the hierarchy at the club – on the football side of things at least. KLD and Kristjaan Speakman have done a superb job so far, and the aim is obviously to continue that.

The signings so far look superb – it’s brilliant to see younger players like Bellingham, Triantis and Semedo choosing us because of our reputation of giving young players a chance and our reputation for that is evidently growing in the football world. That said, I do think a bit of experience wouldn’t go amiss, particularly as it seems Corry Evans will be out for the first half of the campaign.

Last season will have raised the bar, and while I agree with Joseph that not achieving promotion won’t be a failure, we do have to keep progressing, we have to keep getting better and we have to keep aiming higher. Yes, we might have overachieved last season, but that shouldn’t mean our ambitions for next season should be dampened.

To my mind, we’ve got to be aiming for play-offs at a minimum. Automatic promotion is a tough ask, not unachievable but tough, however, we should be aiming for top six. If we’re not, what’s the point?

That said, we crept into that position on the lowest points a team’s got into the play-offs on for a while – another season our points total could have seen us finish midtable – so that probably skews things a bit, however, we’ve always got to be looking to improve and I think we will. Key to it will be our home form, which was poor last year – hopefully some variation in our forward play in the form of Semedo, which we didn’t have with Ross Stewart being injured, will help that.

Sunderland v Birmingham City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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