PHIL PARKINSON accepts Sunderland have to be mindful of the financial issues caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but the Black Cats boss is confident the prospect of having to play behind-closed-doors for up to six more months will not prevent him from making the ‘one or two’ final additions he is targeting before the transfer window closes.

At the start of this week, Sunderland officials had been planning for the return of around 11,000 spectators into the Stadium of Light. That all changed at a stroke on Tuesday when Boris Johnson addressed the House of Commons and ruled out the admission of supporters into any professional football ground for up to half-a-year.

Playing without fans for six months would have a huge impact on Sunderland’s finances, and while there is talk of the Premier League funding a £250m rescue package for clubs in the EFL, the Black Cats are having to draw up worst-case scenario contingency plans based around an extremely limited income for the remainder of the season.

It is hardly the time to be spending large sums on the recruitment of new players, but having left a couple of gaps open in his squad, Parkinson remains keen to bring in a couple of players before the transfer window closes for Football League clubs on October 16.

He has discussed the situation with owner Stewart Donald and chief executive Jim Rodwell in the last few days, and remains confident he will be able to complete his business as planned despite this week’s developments.

“When the announcement was made on Tuesday, everyone took a deep breath,” said Parkinson. “We had a chat, and probably put a couple of things on hold for a couple of days, just to take stock of the situation. I think everybody has done the same. Every manager or agent I was speaking to, the topic of conversation was the same.

“The picture constantly changes, and you have to adapt to that. The club obviously has issues with people still on furlough and things like that, so there’s a lot to be taken into consideration. But equally, the owner of the club wants us to have as strong as a squad as possible out on the pitch.

“One thing that can lift the area is winning games of football and being on top of the league. The better the players we’ve got, and the better the competition we have in the squad, the better our chances are of being able to do that.

“It’s about striking a balance. We have to be realistic about what we can spend – that’s pretty much set in stone anyway with the salary cap – and we have to weigh things up and look at the bigger picture all the time. But I think we’re all agreed that, ideally, it would be nice to get another one or two in.”

While Sunderland’s initial offer for Argentinian striker Mateo Bajamich remains on the table, Parkinson expects to conduct his remaining transfer business in the final few days of the window, when a batch of new players is likely to become available.

The Black Cats are close to reaching the maximum expenditure permitted under League One’s new salary-cap regulations, but Under-21 players do not count towards the total, hence Parkinson’s particular interest in targets aged 21 or under.

One 20-year-old who could put pen to paper in the next few days is Benji Kimpioka. The striker’s future has been a long-running saga this summer as he initially rejected Sunderland’s offer of a new deal.

With his previous contract having expired earlier this summer, Kimpioka returned to his native Sweden while his agent discussed his position with a number of potential employers.

A series of possible leads have led nowhere though, and with Sunderland’s initial offer having remained on the table, Kimpioka is set to re-commit himself to the Black Cats.

Parkinson has clearly been frustrated at the length of time that has elapsed since the forward last trained as part of Sunderland’s squad, but if he returns to the fold in the next few days, he will be given every opportunity to stake a claim for a place in the senior group.

“The last I heard was that Benji was close to agreeing his contract,” said Parkinson. “It’s the same contract which has been on the table for a long time. I’m not sure whether that’s been finalised in the last couple of days, but if it is, then he comes back and gets himself fit, and let’s see if he can push himself into the reckoning.

“There’s no question that he will be given a chance. It’s frustrating that he’s a bit behind. He’s been working on his fitness back in Sweden, although until we get him over here, we won’t really be able to see where he is.”

Sunderland return to action when they host promotion rivals Peterborough United tomorrow, but Parkinson might well be without his skipper, Max Power, who is struggling with a hamstring injury.

“Max had a tightness last week, and we’ll be assessing him right up to the weekend,” said Parkinson. “It’s not a serious injury. If he doesn’t make this weekend, he should be back in training in the early part of next week.”