The League One title is Sunderland's to win at the moment. Avoid defeat against Portsmouth (preferably by winning), then our games in hand mean we're in the driving seat for a quick return to Championship football. With January on the horizon, you'd be forgiven for getting excited about the prospect of improving our squad - but do we really need to?
Financially we're in a better position than we have been for ages, obviously, but our wage bill is still a massive problem. It prevents us splashing any meaningful cash, which immediately reduces the pot of quality players available. Then you have to factor in the league we're playing in, which again shrinks the pot further.
It feels like any transfers would be more what we want than what we need. Now we know we haven't got a huge number of quality players available to us, capable of improving our squad, let's take a quick look at the squad to see if there are any gaping holes.
Jon McLaughlin is head and shoulders above the dross we put up with last season. He isn't expected to miss a significant amount of football, if any at all, after being substituted against Bristol Rovers due to a back problem. Robbin Ruiter was part of the dross we had to put up with last season, but let's be honest how many reasonably talented goalies will want to come and sit on the bench in League One?
We've conceded fewer goals than any other team so far which makes you think we're alright for defenders. Though, left back aside, we don't have much depth here. Behind Adam Matthews you have very little at right back - Jon Flanagan, part of our best centre back pairing, is the next best option there - whilst we can only hope Glen Loovens and, moreso, Alim Ozturk are not relied upon too much for our promotion charge.
Lee Cattermole, Max Power, Dylan McGeouch, George Honeyman and, when he returns, Ethan Robson - think we're covered mate. Lynden Gooch can even put a shift in here.
Out wide we've got Aidan McGeady, Gooch, Chris Maguire and now Duncan Watmore. Centrally you could also use Watmore, Maguire has done okay there, Josh Maja is battling to be the league's top scorer and Charlie Wyke is almost back. There isn't a better selection of attackers in the league.
I don't think that we are desperate for any signatures. The only position where an injury or two could cause a problem is defence, right back or centre back. I could understand an additional signing here. However, I'd rather see us stash the cash and trust this squad to get us back in the Championship. We're going to need significant investment again in the summer should we achieve promotion, as I fear some of the players we rely on at the minute will be found out against better teams. That, and the lure of Sunderland should be much bigger if we get promoted.
There is a sizeable gap in quality between League One and the Championship. The squad has to progress accordingly.
What do you reckon? Vote below on how many signings you think we need!