WHATEVER league Sunderland are playing in next season, Lee Johnson has revealed he will be recruiting players this summer to fit into the 4-3-3 formation he fielded at Hull City last night.

Johnson has chopped and changed systems on a number of occasions since taking over in December, but most of the tinkering has been a response to the injury issues that have blighted the Black Cats in the second half of the season.

Ideally, Johnson wants his side to line up as they did at the KCOM Stadium, with a flat back four, a relatively narrow central midfield, and two wide attackers flanking a central striker.

That will be the formation he fields out of choice next season – and while his summer dealing will have to reflect the success or failure of his side’s ongoing promotion push, he will be looking to sign players that can fit into it effectively once the transfer window reopens.

Johnson said: “I think that’s always the preferred shape. I haven’t always been able to play that, but it’s what we’ll recruit to – a six, an eight and a ten.

“Sometimes, you play with two eights or two sixes and a ten, to whatever. But that version of 4-3-3 is what we’re well suited to.

“For whatever reason, sometimes this season we haven’t been able to do that. Mainly, it’s because we have five centre-halves out injured.”