Whilst pretty much everything that surrounds Sunderland right now breeds pessimism, it would still take a brave person to predict our final position. A brave person, or a WAW writer threatened with the prospect of their darkest secrets being leaked.
Disclaimer: no blackmail truly took place in the making of this article. Nothing that would stand up in court, anyway.
Player of the Season: Lewis Grabban
Without significant investment, I can't see any serious push for promotion this season. A brief flirt with the play offs before finishing mid table along with early exits from both cup competitions is what I'm expecting from this underfunded, low quality squad.
Player of the Season: Didier Ndong
A slow start to the season with some disappointing results. Things improve slightly at the back end of the season give us hope for a late play off charge but ultimately we come up short. Paying the price for a poor start. Didier Ndong is our key player and starts chipping in with some assists and important goals.
Expectations have been lowered to such an extent that 10th will be considered a decent finish.
So far, the only signings who look top half Championship level are Robbin Ruiter and Grabban. Worries over a poor start may expose Simon Grayson but a season littered with a few home wins should be enough to satisfy the majority of fans.
Player of the Season: Lewis Grabban
The championship is arguably the most difficult league to predict in world football, therefore I wouldn't rule out an instant return to the Premier League, nor would I rule out a sixth successive scrap for survival. However, I don't see anything that exciting happening, I'm thinking a season of mid table mediocrity for Sunderland, maybe a few good runs throughout the campaign but nothing to write home about. The squad we have currently, although subject to potentially massive changes over the coming weeks, has far too much quality to go down when you compare it to the likes of Burton and Cardiff etc.
Although I think on our day we will be able to compete with any squad in the division, I think the squad lacks the marquee mercurial like Tom Cairney or Jonathan Kodja to provide the quality required to mount a serious promotion challenge. I see us being fairly consistent at picking up the points against those weaker teams, but struggling to challenge the top teams enough in games to break into the play-off positions.
Player of the season was a tough call, nobody really stood out for me as an obvious choice, I've gone for Grabban, although if I knew he was going to be fit I'd have gone for Duncan Watmore. Due to lack of competition I see Grabban being first choice striker, and with decent service from the likes of McGeady I believe he possesses the finishing ability to repeat the feats of a couple of years ago when he scored 34 goals in 80 Championship games over the course of two seasons for Bournemouth and Norwich respectively.
Player of the Season: Duncan Watmore
Someone had to break the mould and plump for something a little ambitious. The fact that 6th place in the Championship will be considered by most Sunderland fans as massively ambitious highlights the lack of faith in the club right now. Selling Jeremain Lens, Wahbi Khazri and Lamine Kone is an essential part of this rebuild, whilst I expect hungry youth to be given the opportunity to thrive in a league which is as competitive as they come. Duncan Watmore's return will be like a new signing and, in my opinion, the best we have this season on route to our failed play off campaign.
I'll be honest, I just want to go back to Wembley.