Sunderland’s head coach list out 7 players the club needs to changes in next summer recruitment to improve squad balance.

MIKE DODDS believes Sunderland’s leadership will take a “more balanced approach” to this summer’s transfer window, with a greater willingness to add some older players to the club.

The Black Cats’ recruitment model has received a lot of attention in recent years, with the great bulk of incoming transactions being young players, many of whom had little or no first-team experience in the Championship. At the same time, several veteran players have been permitted to leave rather than being given new contracts.

As a result, the club now boasts the division’s youngest roster, and both Tony Mowbray and Michael Beale have questioned the idea of fielding such inexperienced players.

Dodds respects the broad ideas of Sunderland’s’model’ and anticipates that the club will continue to prioritise the acquisition of young players who can be improved and developed with time.

However, after being closely involved in recruitment talks over the last few weeks, the interim head coach detects an acceptance that the squad’s composition has shifted too far in one direction. As a result, when Kristjaan Speakman finalizes his list of summer targets prior to the reopening of the market, a few older targets may make the cut.

“I think, and I use this phrase carefully, there will be a little bit more of a balanced approach,” said Dodds. “The club is never going to completely change its approach to identifying young players and potential diamonds in the rough, that’s not just something that they’re going to abandon because it’s what they believe in and why they invested in the football club.

Sunderland's Mike Dodds sets out head coach ambition but insists he's in no  rush - Chronicle Live
“But I do think this season has highlighted the fact that we probably do need one or two (more experienced players) around what we currently have, and I also feel like there probably needs to be a little more depth.

“I took over the team where the injury list was severe, and it probably highlighted that a little bit of depth needs addressing. So, I think there’ll be slight changes, a slightly more balanced approach.

“It’s never going to change entirely, but this season has highlighted – and it will be a positive (in the long term), albeit it doesn’t feel like it right now when we’re sat in mid-table – that some things need addressing, and I think the club will do their utmost to do that in the summer.”

Given his daily involvement with the first squad in recent months, Dodds is expected to continue to have an impact on the summer recruitment process even if a new head coach is hired this summer.

A new permanent leader will also be involved, while Speakman will continue to manage the recruitment operation as sporting director.

“We’ve had our first round of meetings in terms of recruitment, and also in terms of what’s been positive and not so positive,” Dodds said. “So those are the preliminary rounds that we’ve done; no individuals were discussed, but you talk about squad makeup, areas of focus for the summer, and all of that.

“I know there are another set of meetings scheduled for the final week of the season, followed by three or four for the post-season in terms of recruitment, and more beyond that.

“Obviously, whoever the next head coach is will be informed of the discussions that have occurred and will have an impact on comings and goings from there.

“So, we’ve had our initial meetings, if That makes sense, in terms of reflecting on this year’s recruitment and the issues that must be solved before the start of the next season.”

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