Position Primer: Goalkeeper
Well the fixtures are out and the rumour mill is overloading, so here at Vital Sunderland we are going to preview each position, reviewing what players that the club already have and considering what Steve Bruce will need to buy.
And where else would you start but between the sticks. In all truth, it is a position of strength for the Black Cats.
So far this summer, Darren Ward has retired and Nick Colgan has been released. However, we`re talking about our third and fourth choice goalkeepers here so there is no real concern to replace either of them.
While it cannot be said that Craig Gordon has justified the full £9m transfer fee that Roy Keane agreed to pay two years ago, the Scottish international should still be seen as the club`s number 1. At 26, he`s still young for his position and not near his prime and with Nigel Spink in as the club`s new goalkeeping coach, one has to hope that Gordon progresses into becoming one of the world`s best goalkeepers that many expected him to be when he signed for the Black Cats.
Whereas Gordon is currently recovering from knee surgery and his next appearance for the club will be his fiftieth, therefore costing the club a few bob, with his presence at the club Bruce can really start thinking elsewhere in his efforts to strengthen.
From a Scottish international to a Hungarian international. This time last year Marton Fulop looked like he was going to leave the club and despite talking to Stoke he decided to stay at the club. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. With Gordon missing many games through injury, Fulop deputised admirably, including keeping a clean sheet at Arsenal. Panathinaikos are said to be interest in offering Fulop Champions League football next season but with the uncertain fitness of Craig Gordon and no established back up left at the club, it is doubtful that Bruce will allow him to leave prior to the signing of a replacement. It also remains to be seen whether Fulop would like to leave the club or stay to fight to be the club`s number one.
Northern Ireland under 21 international Trevor Carson is currently the third choice goalkeeper at the club. He has never played for the club, but did have a spell out on loan with Chesterfield last season. For him to fulfil his potential, another loan move would do the youngster some good, especially if he is guaranteed first team football. Carson was linked to a move to Tottenham three summers ago.
Signed from Plymouth last summer, youth team number 1 Michal Misiewicz would be next in line. The highly rated Polish-Canadian could benefit from a spell on the fringe of the first team, covering if either Fulop or Gordon pick up knocks and possibly even an appearance in the Carling Cup.
So, the goalkeeping situation at the Stadium of Light is reasonably healthy and Steve Bruce will only need to bring in another keeper if someone else leaves the club. However, if all the positions were like this, Roy Keane or Ricky Sbragia would probably still be in charge!
Next up: Right Back.