After a four-year absence from the Championship, last term under the management of Alex Neil, Sunderland earned promotion back to the second tier of English football.


Despite a good start to the ongoing season, Neil left the Black Cats to join Stoke City and Tony Mowbray took charge of the club.



However, despite losing their manager at the beginning of the season, under Mowbray’s stewardship, Sunderland are now in fifth place in the Championship table.


Black Cats sporting director Speakman is of the view that after returning to the Championship, Sunderland will need time to adjust to the league and during the 2022 World Cup break, the club will be in a good position to assess how well they have done.



“We are an ambitious football club and when that question always comes up, there is a danger that you overpitch it or underpitch it”, Speakman told The Northern Echo.


“We’ve got to be able to adapt to this league and I don’t think we’ve had that period.”



“Certainly when we get to the World Cup break, I think that will be a really good point for us to start assessing and looking at how those players have done.”


Speakman insisted that the club are constantly reviewing as the season progresses and revealed that after 20 games they will review the squad’s performance to start planning for the winter transfer window.


“We’re not going to sit here and say we are playing one game at a time and sit back in May and go ‘how did we do?’ We’re going to constantly do that.


“There will be review periods to see how we’ve gone after the first 20 or so games.


“We will then be planning for the January window and before you know it, it will be the end of the season and we will be looking at the summer window so it’s just evolving what is going on.”


Sunderland will entertain Preston North End on 1st October at the Stadium of Light and the last time both sides met, in 2018, the Black Cats suffered a 2-0 defeat.