Kristjaan Speakman has detailed Sunderland’s plan for handling the League One salary cap from the summer onwards,
The Black Cats have 15 first team players out of contract in the summer and face the prospect of some difficult decisions as the club look to fall in line with restrictions in the third tier.
As mentioned by Speakman, a number of the players currently fall outside of the salary cap and so that could be a deciding factor in whether they earn a new deal at the club.
However with Sunderland pushing for promotion that would be a situation where the club face a different set of decisions to make.
Speaking on the #SAFCUnfiltered podcast, Speakman explained: “We’ve already got two squad composition templates, one for the Championship and one for League One.
“It would be remiss of me not to be working on that in my position.
“The process moving forward is to evaluate all those players that are out of contract against both scenarios and then almost have those [plans ready to go], and then review and evaluate as we go through the next fifteen games.
“Some are going to be easier decisions than others, maybe because of the age of the player, contract value, where they sit in terms of being inside our outside the salary cap.
“It’s just a case of working through them one by one.
“For the senior group, I think they’re used to receiving that information fairly late in the season.
“That doesn’t mean we necessarily make those decisions late in the season but I think we’ve got to give those players every opportunity to prove themselves and align themselves with the direction that Lee [Johnson] is taking the group.”
Quiz: Have any of these 22 players ever been in Sunderland’s academy?
It certainly looks set to be a pivotal few months for Sunderland.
Promotion is clearly the target as the club look to escape the financial restrictions that come with being in League One, but of course they need to prepare for another season in the third tier.
Difficult decisions will need to be made with regards to their players and that could see the club facing wholesale changes to the playing squad at the end of the current campaign.