Squad depth key for Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat


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Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat believes strength in depth will be crucial if his side are to avoid another relegation battle next season.

The Black Cats just avoided the drop last season after turning their fortunes around under Advocaat, who joined as a temporary replacement for sacked coach Gus Poyet.

Sunderland are now hoping to build and have already added to their squad, with Advocaat making early moves for Liverpool defender Sebastian Coates and Celtic right-back Adam Matthews.

And Advocaat, who has performed a U-turn and signed a permanent deal with Sunderland, believes a good summer of recruitment can help his side reach the next level.

“It was important for the international players to have a break because they needed it, but they’re back and there will be more competition so everything feels like it’s getting closer and closer which I like to see,” Advocaat told the club’s official website.

“Everybody has to show to us that they want to play because there will hopefully be more competition in the squad than last year.”

Sunderland are reportedly close to signing Belgian defender Nicolas Lombaerts from Zenit St Petersburg, with sources claiming an £8million deal could be confirmed in the coming days.

They have also been linked with Dynamo Kyiv winger Jeremain Lens, although they are believed to have failed in attempted moves for West Ham’s Stewart Downing and Marco van Ginkel, has joined Stoke on loan from Chelsea.

Sunderland are priced at 2.75 to be relegated in the 2015-16 season and are 8.50 to finish rock bottom.

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