SUNDERLAND’S takeover remains on track – with Lee Johnson confident the Black Cats will not become the latest Football League club to see a proposed change of ownership fall through.

It was Christmas Eve when Sunderland officials issued a statement confirming Kyril Louis-Dreyfus had signed a deal with Stewart Donald to become the club’s new majority shareholder.

All relevant paperwork was submitted to the EFL before the end of last year, but the governing body is yet to formally ratify the change of ownership, meaning Donald currently remains in charge.

Given it is now almost a month since Dreyfus’ plans were publicly revealed, concerns have been expressed that the process has run into problems.

A proposed takeover at Derby County reportedly collapsed earlier this week, but through his regular conversations with Sunderland chief executive Jim Rodwell, Johnson is confident the Black Cats are not about to suffer a similar fate.

“It’s as you were, which means it’s still positive and it’s still pending,” said the Sunderland boss. “Nothing that I’ve heard and no conversations that I’ve had would suggest that it’s not going to happen. I truly believe it’s going to happen.

“It’s been interesting to watch what’s been happening at other clubs – the Wigan one has fallen away, and there have been rumours about the Derby one as well.

“I think we’re very strong in terms of what we’re trying to do, and if we can get the new ownership, it just takes the course in a slightly different path. Internally, though, we’re still doing everything we can to strive to work for the short term as well as the long term.”

In the immediate term, Johnson’s focus is on tomorrow’s home game with Shrewsbury Town and an opportunity to get back on track after the disappointment of the midweek home defeat to Plymouth Argyle.

Luke O’Nien is available for selection, although an inability to take throw-ins means he will not be considered for a place at right-back.

“He can’t throw a ball at the moment,” revealed Johnson. “If he makes the action of putting his arm above his head, he goes down in agony because of the contraction of a nerve. If you’re in a full-back position, you’re going to need to take throw-ins.”

Sunderland (probable, 4-3-3): Burge; Power, Willis, Wright, McFadzean; O’Nien, Leadbitter, Winchester; Diamond, Wyke, McGeady.