THEY might not have a head coach, but Sunderland will still be making key decisions over a number of their senior players in the next few days.

While the club’s search for a new permanent boss continues, with Will Still, Rene Maric and Danny Rohl all understood to be under serious consideration, the end of the season has brought a series of contractual situations to a head.

Those situations will be resolved in the next week, with sporting director Kristjaan Speakman set to work alongside Mike Dodds, whose spell as interim head coach came to an end at the weekend, to decide who will be part of the first-team squad next season.

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Callum Styles’ loan move from Barnsley has reached its conclusion, and while Sunderland negotiated a clause for a permanent transfer when they discussed the midfielder’s temporary switch in January, they must decide whether or not to hand the 24-year-old a full-time deal.

Corry Evans came off the bench in the closing stages of last weekend’s final-day defeat to Sheffield Wednesday, but the 33-year-old’s contract is due to expire next month and the Black Cats are yet to confirm whether he will be offered a new deal. In the last couple of years, Speakman and Kyril Louis-Dreyfus have been extremely reluctant to offer terms to anyone over the age of 30.

Similarly, Bradley Dack’s one-year contract is set to expire this summer. Given the 30-year-old’s lack of involvement this term, it is unlikely that he will be retained.

“There are meetings planned,” confirmed Dodds. “There’ll be conversations over the next few days that will resolve a number of things.


“We’ve got some players who have been out on loan that will be coming back to the football club, and we need to have a bit of a touchpoint with them in terms of their reflections and the feedback we’ve had from those clubs.

“We’ve got individual meetings planned with a number of players in terms of giving them individual feedback, which I think is really important. I’ve said that I have to learn from this process to move forward, I think the club have to learn from what’s happened, and the players have to learn too.

“I’ve got meetings planned with all the players individually. I’ve had some already, and I’ve got more scheduled for (this) week, which will be individual feedback on where they’ve been in terms of their performance on the pitch and where they’ve been in terms of their performance off the pitch too. I want to make sure they’re really clear on the expectations for next season.”