Position Primer: Left Back
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 positions that Steve Bruce will need to strengthen.
The club`s right backs were analyse last time out, and prior to that the goalkeepers were looked at. Now it`s time to look at the left backs in the squad.
First choice left back is Northern Ireland international George McCartney. McCartney rejoined the club from West Ham on deadline day last summer for £4.5m, in a transfer that saw Alan Curbishley resign from his post with the Hammers. However, McCartney struggled with injuries throughout his first season back at the club making only 16 appearances for the club in the league. Nonetheless, with the presence of George McCartney at the club a new left back will be a lower priority for Steve Bruce this summer.
Reigning Player of the Season Danny Collins is the club`s back up left back. Signed from Chester by Mick McCarthy, few fans would have been disappointed to see him leave after the club`s previous relegation from the Premier League. But Collins has reinvented himself since, exceeding the expectations of many to see him pick up the Player of the Year award for the previous two seasons. Collins is a more than adequate back up at both on the left side and in the middle of the defence. However, with the Bruce wanting a top half finish, the club would be better off with McCartney making the majority of appearances for the first team.
19-year-old Michael Liddle is next up on the depth chart. Liddle spent the majority of the season on loan at Carlisle, which turned out to be a successful stint for the youngster. With both McCartney and Collins at the club, a loan move to a Championship club would be best for Liddle next season as first team opportunities for the Black Cats would be few and far between.
Whereas Bruce could improve the left side of the defence, with both McCartney and Collins at the club the situation is relatively healthy, especially when you compare it to the rest of the defence. Both players would be first choice on the opposite side of the field and McCartney would have to recapture the form he had they persuaded Roy Keane to invest in him to keep Collins at bay.
Sunderland`s strength at right back is exemplified by the fact that the club has not been linked with any left backs this summer and an upgrade at this position would be a long way down the list of priorities for Steve Bruce this summer.
The position that is possibly top of that list is up next: Centre Back.