Sunderland had an entirely mixed bag of a season in 2013-14 as they regularly see-sawed from disaster one minute to jubilation the next but happily for all of their fans the end result was a fourteenth place finish and a memorable, if unsuccessful, League Cup Final. The most incredible thing about the end to Sunderland's season last time around was that they achieved relatively comfortable safety having been in the relegation zone for thirty-one of the thirty-eight match weeks and were bottom for seventeen of those. Sunderland were rock bottom with seven defeats in eight when they prepared for a trip to face eventual champions Man City in a game which was surely going to extend that run but incredibly they came to within a few minutes of a famous win, securing a draw that ultimately would give them the final push they needed to survive - they followed that result with memorable victories at Manchester United and Chelsea.

The end of season spirit Sunderland showed was highly complimentary and reflected incredibly well on manager Gus Poyet but the question at the back of everyone's minds, most notably those of Sunderland fans, was why couldn't they replicate the same level of performance throughout the season? The truth is that no-one really knows why the performances for the majority of the season were so poor until the last minute but what was undeniable was the fact that they were often terrible defensively, conceding three goals a game in the first few months of the season, something which was only magnified by their struggle to score goals. It might not be a coincidence therefore to note that Sunderland's upturn in performance was accompanied by the introduction of Connor Wickham and his goalscoring form to the team.

At the age of just twenty-one great things might still be expected of Wickham and his pace and skill proved to be troublesome for defenders, he only had ten appearances all last season and if given more of a starting berth his stock could continue to rise.

As things stand Sunderland will need to bring in reinforcements that will bring goals to the team because it cannot be assumed that Connor Wickham will pick up from where he left off and there is some uncertainty over whether Fabio Borini will make his loan move permanent and line up for the team this season.

The other options currently available for Sunderland are Steven Fletcher and Jozy Altidore, both of whom are prone to injury and unreliability, whilst Danny Graham is likely to be heading out the door. At the moment there is no indication of whether a new striker will come and if not that would serve up some uncertainty regarding the team's goalscoring prospects as we head into the new season.

Somewhere there is uncertainty at the moment is in midfield and notably in the position vacated by Jack Colback who sensationally moved to Newcastle in one of the earliest moves of the transfer window. Sunderland were seemingly planning on him staying with them and the statement they released in response to the move demonstrated that they were clearly hurt by his decision. Colback became an important part of the team and securing a replacement should be a priority before the window closes but there are rumours that the club is perhaps looking at Jack Rodwell who could be a potentially good midfield acquisition. Going into the new season there are no certainties regarding what to expect with Sunderland but I do believe Gus Poyet is a good manager and with a couple more signings and patience from the fans and board I believe he can ultimately steer the club towards a top half finish this campaign. 2014-15 Prediction: 10th.