Sunderland have made an extraordinary journey over the past season and in Roy Keane they have the perfect man to keep them up in the Premiership.
Sunderland are perhaps a bit short on the quality side of things defensively and there could a couple of loan deals / permanent moves at the end of August to shore up the defence.
Overall, the squad (especially with the new signings) is decent and Roy Keane is a good tactician and man-manager. As long as Sunderland can reinforce the squad a bit more before September, they have a lot to look forward to.
And at any rate, Sunderland will fight for each minute on the pitch, making them harder to beat than some of the other sides in the Premiership.
Manager Status: Roy Keane has done extremely well so far with Sunderland but the Premiership is a whole new ball-game and discipline and work-ethic won’t get you too far. Sunderland do have quality players though and Keane right now enjoys complete respect from the board, the players and the fans.
Transfer Analysis: Sunderland have bought, bought and bought – Richardson and Chopra for 5m each and Gordon for 9m being the 3 biggest signings. Fact is, it could be this splashing of cash that allows Sunderland to survive in the Premiership as Keano has brought in players with a point to prove (and pure quality in Gordon, mind you).
Players to watch: Kieran Richardson, Carlos Edwards and Michael Chopra (and all Prem managers will be watching Gordon).
August Fixtures: Home to Tottenham, away games to rivals Birmingham and Wigan and a home game to Liverpool. I would fance Sunderland to squeeze 6 points out of the two away games, but against Spurs and Pool they might just be totally outclassed.
Predictions: Mid-table (9th-15th) – I can’t imagine Keano in a relegation battle – the players would commit suicide before daring to face him.