Sunderland are facing a battle to secure promotion back to the Championship, but that is what is expected of the Black Cats this season.
The Netflix documentary Sunderland ‘Til I Die showed the trials of tribulations of the huge club since their relegation from the Premier League.
It was certainly interesting to see what happened when the investment stopped, but Sunderland are where they are and will be desperate to secure a return to the Championship before planning for the future.
Below are three things to look out for at Sunderland between now and the end of the January transfer window, which is approaching its latter stages.
Josh Maja’s future
This one has rumbled on and on. Chronicle Live have quoted Sunderland boss Jack Ross as saying that he wants some ‘clarity’ on Josh Maja’s future.
Maja has been Sunderland’s main source of goals this season, but the 19-year-old is out of contract this summer and has seemingly turned down a new deal.
It seems likely that the teenager will be leaving the Stadium of Light before the end of the month, but he remains at the club for the moment.
A new striker – potentially Will Grigg – arriving at the club
If and when Maja moves on, Sunderland will need a new centre-forward. Wigan Athletic’s Will Grigg has been strongly linked with a move to the club, but that is currently on hold until Maja’s future is addressed.
Sunderland are therefore facing the possibility of losing Maja at the final moment without having time to replace the teenager, which would put a huge dent in their plans to secure promotion back to the Championship.
The Black Cats are a huge pull at League One level, however, and there will not be a shortage of strikers interested in a move to the club.
Stewart Donald’s social media activity
Sunderland chairman Stewart Donald recently responded to rumours that the Black Cats wanted to bring Burnley defender Phil Bardsley back to the club.
There were suggestions that the 33-year-old could return to Sunderland this month, but Donald denied the speculation on Twitter.
It might be worth keeping a close eye on the former Eastleigh chairman’s social media activity this month as fresh rumours continue to surface.