PHIL PARKINSON will be targeting attacking acquisitions when the transfer window reopens in January – and the Sunderland boss is hoping this week’s injection of funds will increase his chances of landing his leading targets at the start of next year.

The FPP Sunderland group, comprising American businessmen Glenn Fuhrman, John Phelan and Robert Platek, have invested around £10m into Sunderland, with Charlie Methven stating the majority of the new funds have been earmarked for long-term projects.

There is a desire to improve Sunderland’s recruitment operation and invest in the academy, and there are also expected to be infrastructural improvements at the Stadium of Light.

However, Methven has hinted there will be money to spend when the transfer window reopens at the turn of the year, and Parkinson will be holding a series of meetings in the next couple of weeks to see exactly what this week’s events mean for his plans.

“I think it’s great for the club, it gets the club in a strong position, that’s what the chairman wanted and it’s good news for everybody,” said the Sunderland boss, ahead of this afternoon’s home game with Southend United.

“I think for any owner, but also for the supporters, they want the long-term future of the club secure, and fresh investment can help that.

“It’s all-round good news, and at the right time, when we’ve got through this Saturday-Tuesday, Saturday-Tuesday run of games, I’m sure we’ll all sit down and see what it means in terms of the squad improvements if needed in January.”

Parkinson is in regular contact with Sunderland’s head of recruitment, Tony Coton, and the pair have already begun to formulate plans for the turn of the year.

Their list of targets remains at a formative stage, but while significant sums have been spent on signings in the last 18 months, Parkinson accepts he has inherited a squad that is somewhat unbalanced.

Sunderland boast an abundance of options at the heart of midfield, but in the absence of the injured Charlie Wyke, Parkinson has much less room for manoeuvre when it comes to selecting his forward line. As things stand, that is something he would like to address when the transfer window reopens.

“Perhaps the balance of the squad can be readdressed in January,” he said. “I do feel that there is tremendous potential within the group we’ve got, I really do. But obviously in my short time here, it’s my job and Steve Parkin’s job to speak with Tony and say, ‘Look, this is what we’ve got at the moment. These are the players, but can we monitor this player or this group of players?’

“Tony is doing that for us now. In a couple of weeks, things might have changed because it is still very early in my time at the club, but we have to make sure that all areas are covered.

“At the moment, we are short of attacking options because of the injuries we’ve had. We don’t want that to be happening. We want to make sure we have enough ammunition, both starting the game and from the bench.”

Parkinson’s reign has not gone as planned so far, with Sunderland winning just one of the new manager’s first four matches in charge. Tuesday’s Carabao Cup exit at the hands of Oxford United was another blow, but while his side have also lost at Wycombe Wanderers and Shrewsbury Town, Parkinson can see signs of improvement during his three weeks in charge.

His players rallied after a slow start on Tuesday night, hitting the woodwork twice and having two excellent penalty shouts turned down, and while he accepts there is a need to sharpen up his side’s finishing, he is far from downcast at the way they have been playing.

“I feel like the intensity of the play has gone up a level, and the understanding of the way we want to play,” he said. “We want to keep the ball, but we want to do it with a purpose. That’s the key message we’re trying to get over to the players, whether it is by video or on the training pitch.

“We have to make sure we are effective, and the opposition come away from the game and their defenders have been tested.

“We’ve been trying to get the balance right. In the games we’ve had, we probably (didn’t get it right) in the Wycombe game, but in the subsequent games, we’ve shown a cutting edge in terms of crossing and getting balls in behind the opposition. But when it comes to the clinical side, we know we have to improve.”

Joel Lynch is available for today’s game with the Shrimpers despite picking up a knock in the midweek Carabao Cup defeat to Oxford, but Duncan Watmore is a doubt after missing the trip to the Kassam Stadium with a virus. Lee Burge, Lynden Gooch and Charlie Wyke are all still unavailable.

“Joel is fine," said Parkinson. "He got a bang on his knee and had treatment, but (yesterday) he’s trained.

“Lynden is still not out on the grass, and we’re hoping Charlie will start running next week. Lee has still got a problem with thigh, which has not progressed as quickly as we’d have hoped.

“Duncan had a virus this week and we’ll have to assess him carefully. He’s done some of the training (yesterday) morning, but we’ll look at him closely before the game.”

Sunderland (probable, 4-2-3-1): J McLaughlin; O’Nien, Willis, Lynch, Hume; Dobson, Power; Watmore, Maguire, McGeady; McNulty.