Alex Neil guided the Black Cats impeccably to promotion after entering the dugout ahead of the business end of the season, and will be ambitious about the club’s prospects in the coming years.
The Black Cats have a few important players heading towards the expiration of their contracts this summer, and it will be interesting to see which ones Neil deems ready for the step up a division.
Patrick Roberts signed on a permanent basis from Manchester City, but only on a six-month deal in the January transfer window.
The 25-year-old has shown his true quality in flashes and should be tied down to a longer term contract on Wearside before other clubs smell a bargain this summer.
Roberts scored the winner in the semi final tie against Sheffield Wednesday to take the Black Cats to Wembley and his intensity raised the level of the players around him.
The 25-year-old really stepped up for the play-offs and caused the Owls backline problems they had not had in a long while, proving that he could be a useful player to have next season.
Quiz: Can you name which club Sunderland sold these 23 players to from the last decade?
There could also be a push for Sunderland to bring in Jack Clarke once again, after the winger excelled on loan from Tottenham Hotspur in the second half of the campaign.
Alex Pritchard took a lot of the plaudits for his creativity, and deservedly so, but Roberts’ ball progression and high tempo attacking play created a lot of space for the former Norwich City man to have the influence on games that he did.
Without Roberts and Clarke posing a threat from wide areas, Pritchard could have been dealt with more easily, and with Roberts being the simpler of the two to tie down this summer, his contract situation should be of high priority in the coming weeks.
Now, finally free from the heavy contract that was keeping him at Manchester City, Roberts can re-invent himself in the Championship next season and he is the type of attacker that will increase his performance levels with better players around him.