Sunderland’s long-awaited return to the Championship takes place on Sunday afternoon when the Black Cats welcome Coventry City to the Stadium of Light.
Following four straight seasons in League One, Alex’s Neil’s side will take their place in the second tier of English football for the first time since 2018 with an army of fans behind them.
Neil hasn’t been majorly active in the transfer market so far this summer, but there is still over a month for the club to do their business before the window slams shut until January.
Quiz: Can you remember the score the last time Sunderland played at these 26 stadiums?
With the season fast approaching though, let’s look at the latest stories coming out of Wearside this week as we get even closer to the new campaign kicking off.
Neil wants more signings before Sunday
Taking the already agreed deal for Leon Dajaku out of the equation, Sunderland have added just three players to their ranks this summer – Jack Clarke on a permanent basis following last year’s loan stint, along with Dan Ballard and Aji Alese.
There is still definite holes in the squad though, but it isn’t for the want of trying when it comes to adding to Neil’s options.
The Scot has confirmed that the club’s hierarchy are at the negotiation table for multiple options, and he hopes to have one or perhaps two fresh faces before the Coventry clash on Sunday.
However, Neil has admitted that it wouldn’t be the end of the world if deals weren’t to be closed by the weekend, such is the amount of time left in the window.
Diamond’s future uncertain
Having featured for the senior side in pre-season, academy graduate Jack Diamond could potentially feature in Neil’s this season, having spent the majority squad of the previous campaign at League Two side Harrogate Town.
Now 22 years of age, the winger has stiff competition though with the likes of Jack Clarke and Patrick Roberts occupying the positions he features in, and with new players set to arrive in the coming weeks, it remains to be seen where his future lies
Neil has been non-committal on Diamond’s future though, leaving the forward in limbo going into the final month of the window.
“It’s difficult to say, because it really depends on if we manage to get players in the building, doesn’t it?” Neil said, per the Chronicle.
“It depends what positions come in.
“With Jack, or any other player, it’s hard for me to comment on that really. Naturally, even if players do come in, they need to earn the right [to play].
“All we’re trying to do by bringing players in is to add competition.”
Parrott turns down Sunderland
Sunderland were one of a number of Championship clubs in the running for Tottenham Hotspur forward Troy Parrott following his successful temporary stint with MK Dons in League One last summer.
Per Mark Douglas of iNews, the Black Cats made an offer for the 20-year-old to take him on loan for the season, where he would have provided strong competition for talisman Ross Stewart.
However, the Republic of Ireland international has instead opted for Preston North End instead, meaning that Sunderland have to go back to the drawing board in their search for attacking depth.