'A player I’ve always rated' - Phil Smith reveals the types of players Sunderland should be targeting this month

Transfers and the imminent takeover continue to dominate the headlines on Wearside.
Sunderland head coach Lee Johnson.Sunderland head coach Lee Johnson.
Sunderland head coach Lee Johnson.

Phil Smith has been answering questions from readers in his latest Q&A with fans on everything from Lee Johnson’s plans in the transfer market this month, to the latest on the club’s takeover and what impact the injury situation will have at the Stadium of Light. Here is a flavour of the Q&A:

What transfer/loan targets would you be looking at this month?

PS: “Denver Hume potentially being out for two months means my priority right now would honestly be in that position.

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Sunderland have plenty of players who can fill in there but I think a naturally left-footed and attacking option is needed.

Callum McFadzean has been steady since arriving but the fixture schedule is hectic and Hume is such an important part of Sunderland’s attacking threat.

Both Aiden McGeady and Elliot Embleton (and even Lynden Gooch) like to drift infield and that’s a real weapon if you have a full-back who can attack the space they create out wide.

It’s crucial Sunderland have that, particularly in those home games we have watched so often where they need to break down teams sitting deep, teams happy to take a point.

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Steve Seddon is a player I’ve always rated when I’ve seen him play in this league, as an example of a natural left-back who can have an impact at his level. He’s 23, though, and the reality of the salary cap is that Sunderland will likely have to take a chance on an U21 player.

There’s an obvious need for another forward player, too.

Jack Diamond has brought some welcome drive, and I do think Lynden Gooch’s return is a real positive.

He’s always wanted to play in a more central area and I think he can help bring the other attacking players into the game in that ‘nine-and-a-half role’, particularly when Sunderland look to be moving towards a style that is considerably less direct than what we’ve seen at times.

The kind of player I think they’re still probably missing is someone who can play the role Ryan Longman (a 20-year-old loanee from Brighton) did when AFC Wimbledon visited the Stadium of Light not so long ago.

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Longman missed a couple of really good chances to score, but was very dangerous in carrying the ball forward on the counter-attack and picking up space when Sunderland threw bodies forward.

I’ve no idea how consistent he’s been through the campaign but it struck me that night that he was the kind of player Sunderland don’t really have.

Brennan Johnson, on loan at Lincoln City from Nottingham Forest, is a similar example.”

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Sunderland are back in League One action on Saturday when Lee Johnson takes his side to AFC Wimbledon, aiming to build on the Papa John’s Trophy win over Port Vale in midweek.

The Black Cats are aiming to make more signings this window with a left-back and a new forward key.