SUNDERLAND’S financial problems will be exacerbated by their ongoing contractual commitments if they are relegated to League One, but Chris Coleman understands why so many of the club’s senior players will not be forced to take a wage cut if they find themselves in the third tier next season.

Anyone who joined Sunderland after last season’s relegation from the top-flight, or who signed a new contract in the last 12 months, will see their wages automatically reduce if the Black Cats are unable to cling on to their Championship status. That will mean the likes of Jason Steele, Aiden McGeady and Callum McManaman seeing their pay reduce, along with George Honeyman, who signed a new deal earlier this season.

However, the players who were hit with a 40 per cent wage reduction when they were relegated from the Premier League will not be subject to another drop in money if they find themselves in League One. Lee Cattermole, Lamine Kone, Paddy McNair and Duncan Watmore will all see their wages remain at their current level, along with Didier Ndong, Wahbi Khazri and Papy Djilobodji, who are due to return to Sunderland at the end of their respective loan deals.

Jack Rodwell will finally see his wages drop for the final year of his contract, as his deal contained a clause that deferred a 40 per cent reduction for the first 12 months in the Championship. Even so, Rodwell could still be pocketing around £44,000-a-week in League One, an astronomical sum for a player that has been frozen out of the first-team picture entirely by Coleman.

A parachute payment of £35m will offset some of the financial damage, but chief executive Martin Bain still faces a nigh-on-impossible task as he attempts to make the sums add up. Nevertheless, while Coleman has been frustrated at much of Sunderland’s previous decision-making, he finds it hard to be too critical of the lack of planning for a potential spell in League One.

“Some of the boys who signed those contracts in the Premier League, in fairness to the club, I don’t think anyone would have envisaged us being here three or four years down the line,” he said. “Hence why there’s nothing written in some of the contracts. Some of the guys who signed later on, there are stipulations for contract change.

“I’ve voiced my opinion on how some things have been done here. But when Sunderland were finishing mid-table in the Premier League, I don’t think you could say we’d be on the verge of League One. That’ll have to be sorted out and discussed.”

Before anything can be finalised, however, Coleman and Bain need to know where they stand with regard to Ellis Short’s ongoing attempts to sell up. Sunderland continue to be linked with potential interest from both the North-East and Ireland, but there have been no significant off-field developments in the last few weeks.

“It’s really tough,” said Coleman. “It’s the uncertainty hanging over everybody. If we knew tomorrow what was happening upstairs we could say ‘Right, okay, we can make a plan off that.’ But at the minute, nothing’s been said.”