Tony Mowbray gives an update on Sunderland’s summer plans as the Black Cats prepare for next season

Sunderland’s summer planning is well under way according to Tony Mowbray, with recruitment and new contracts at the top of the agenda. The Black Cats head coach had meetings this week with sporting director Kristjaan Speakman and the club’s recruitment team to work out which positions need to be strenthened ahead of next season and to decide which of the current crop of players would be offered new deals.

Sunderland have decisions to make over a number of players, with the likes of Alex Pritchard out of contract at the end of the season while Patrick Roberts, Lynden Gooch, Dennis Cirkin, and Luke O’Nien are about to enter the final year of their deals. In addition, negotiations are ongoing with star striker Ross Stewart over a new deal and he is also about to enter the final 12 months of his current contract.

The club must also make up its mind whether to offer on-loan Paris St-Germain midfielder Edouard Michut a permanent deal. At present, Sunderland’s situation is in flux with the club going into tomorrow’s final game of the season still in with a chance of reaching the Championship play-offs and, if they do secure a top six finish, there is an outside chance that they could be competing in the Premier League next term.

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Mowbray said: “Let’s hope the summer is full of mad preparations and trying to sign some players to help us in the Premier League! If it’s not, we are working really hard on recruitment in what positions and on what we are going to do with certain players whose contracts are running down.

“We are trying to build the club, and those meetings will continue. We had a meeting about recruitment on Thursday, and also about player contracts etc.

“It never stops, really. What I learnt when I first became a manager is that you go on holiday when the season is finished – but the season is never finished!

“Jeremy Peace [the former owner of West Bromwich Albion when Mowbray was manager at The Hawthorns] used to phone me three times a day, every day! I’m in Florida walking around Seaworld and Jeremy Peace is on the phone talking about this player or that player, so it never stops.”

It will be a new experience for Mowbray this summer, however, with the 59-year-old cast in the role of head coach rather than manager at Sunderland, with Speakman and head of recruitment Stuart Harvey in charge of signings and contracts. Mowbray said: “It might be different this year because, as I’ve said before, this is the first time I have not been a manager, I’m head coach.

“Maybe the business will roll on and other people will be taking care of it and I get the players and then we just get on with coaching the team. Let’s wait and see how it goes.”


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