The Chalkboard: 3 positions Sunderland must strengthen this summer

Sunderland will no doubt be busy again this summer as Stewart Donald looks to rebuild the club, but what positions must they strengthen?

The Black Cats suffered their second Wembley heartbreak of the campaign last weekend, falling 2-1 to Charlton after a truly horrific performance.

Jack Ross’ side were gifted a goal but then sat back and welcomed pressure from the Addicks, who took full advantage and turned it around.

Another season in the third tier is now looming, but it might be the last if Donald focuses his summer efforts on these three areas of the squad.

Right-back

Any time you have a player in a completely unnatural position it is the sign of an imbalanced squad. Just ask James Milner about his time playing left-back for Liverpool.

The Black Cats spent the second half of the campaign with Luke O’Nien at right-back, and the energetic midfielder needs an upgrade so he can make an impact further up the pitch.

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Centre-back

Ross didn’t have a shortage of options at centre-back this season, the problem is that none of them were any good.

Alim Ozturk, Tom Flanagan and Jack Baldwin each had spells of decent form but were never consistent, and the club desperately needs a commanding leader to nail down a place in the side.

No one has ever won the league chopping and changing their centre backs every single week.

Winger

Finally, an out-an-out winger should be high up on the summer shopping list, someone who can beat his man and fire in dangerous crosses.

The likes of Chris Maguire, George Honeyman, Max Power and Lynden Gooch offer good energy in attack, but do not have the ability to burn past a defender and create chances.

A couple of explosive wingers with the ability to make space and carve out openings for what will no doubt be a fitter and hungrier Will Grigg should turn some of those 1-1 draws into wins.

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