Sam Allardyce has suggested he will only be able to firm up his January transfer plans once he has a better understanding of the club’s Premier League survival hopes.
The Wearsiders brought in eight new signings over the summer but are currently second from bottom of the table – two points adrift of safety and smarting from a 6-2 hammering by Everton.
The Black Cats have conceded more goals (25) than any of their top-flight rivals and their shortcomings in defence were laid bare at Goodison Park.
Reports have suggested Allardyce will look to beef up his paper-thin back-line in the New Year, but the new manager says he will take a wider view of the calibre of player required to move Sunderland up the table.
He told the Echo: “I think we have to look at the whole structure of the squad in January and say ‘is there a better player out there, which will bring us something better than we already have?’
“We will not be out of our position or anywhere near safe when the window opens, that’s for sure.”
Allardyce has been credited with an interest in Tottenham winger Andros Townsend and accepts results have to improve quickly if Sunderland are to avoid another season of flirting with disaster.
“Hopefully we can get someone in along the way to help us out of that position,” he said.
“It’s probably going to be the end of March – if we’re really lucky – before we could be safe.
“That’s if we put a run of wins together on a pretty regular basis.”
Sunderland host Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday.