Martin Bain has held preliminary discussions with Simon Grayson about the January transfer window, and says he has a ‘duty’ to try and improve the squad.
Bain stopped short of promising a war chest for the under-fire boss, however, as Sunderland continue to adjust to the financial reality of life outside the Premier League.
The Black Cats spent just over £1million in the summer window, with fans critical of the decision to start the season with only two fit strikers.
The return of Duncan Watmore and the improving fitness of summer signings has given Grayson greater options but their lowly position in the table will inevitably lead to calls for strengthening.
Bain said: “That’s something that’s on my agenda, because whether we were at the top of the league or the bottom of the league, we have a duty at all times to try and improve the squad.
“I’ll sit down with Simon over the next few days and have a chat about that.
“I spoke to Simon on Sunday and we had a long discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of the squad, and overall I think we both know where we need to improve and what we need to do.
“From a budgetary point of view, I’m not going to make promises and create expectation for the fans and risk false dawns, and I hope they respect that,” he added.
“At times there are messages that people don’t want to hear, but I hope that fans respect the fact that I am communicating with them and telling them the way it is.”
The limited summer spend led to criticism of a lack of ambition ahead of the current season, but Bain said in September he was happy with the business done and the commitment of the players brought in.
With Sunderland’s finances as they are, he added that he does not feel pressure to spend heavily in the next window and said results are the most important factor in turning around the mood on Wearside.
He said: “I don’t feel the pressure to spend money, but of course there is pressure in any walk of life.
“From my point of view, I was brought here to make right some of challenges that the club had, but you don’t shift the needle overnight.
“Ultimately, what has to happen is that we need wins on the pitch. If we get wins on the pitch, the mood changes and the confidence comes back, and people will start coming through the turnstiles in the manner that everybody is used to.”
The Sunderland chief executive went on to underline his message from last month that greater stability was needed before the club could invest significantly in the playing staff.
Bain had spoken about some of the difficulties the club faced, including having to pay a transfer fee for Ricky Alvarez having lost a court case against his signing.
He said: “I spoke about it a number of weeks ago, when I tried to address a few of the fundamentals.
“When you lose the broadcast revenue, then you have a £10million cheque to write on Alvarez, legacy transfers to deal with, the operational costs to deal with, you then see where the money has gone.
“There’s nobody more conscious than me that everybody wants to see investment and improvement in the team.
“I’m determined that we can get the club to a stage where we will be able to do that.”