ALEX NEIL insists he wants to remain as Sunderland manager in the wake of today’s play-off final victory over Wycombe Wanderers – but he will be seeking assurances from the club’s owners that he will be “given the tools he needs” to be competitive in the Championship.

Neil wrote himself into Sunderland’s footballing folklore as he led his side to Wembley success this afternoon, having only taken over as Lee Johnson’s successor in February.

The Scot signed a 12-month rolling contract when he agreed to take charge at the Stadium of Light, and it was always anticipated that both sides would reassess the situation in the summer.

Neil now finds himself negotiating from a possible of considerable strength, and while he has clearly enjoyed his three months on Wearside, he accepts there could be some difficult conversations as he outlines what he feels his side needs to cope with the step up to the second tier.

“There’s a lot of discussions to take place between me and the hierarchy, the owners,” said Neil. “I’m sure they’ll take place in the next couple of days.

“I know I’ve only been here a short space of time, but I think there’s a real bond. Whatever happens next, happens next, although I’m not suggesting for one minute (he wants to walk away).

“I want to be at Sunderland. I want to be here, I want to take it forward, and there’s massive scope still for us to go. But what you need to understand is that you’re going to a new level. I know people will say, ‘Yeah, but we’re not a Championship team’, like I’ve been told a million times we’re not a League One team, but at the end of the day, there’s a lot of hard work goes into getting you to that level, because that level is really tough.

“It has teams coming down with parachute payments and guys on £100,000-a-week that are scoring 43 goals a season. It’s a tough, tough level. We just need to sit down and have a chat about what we do next.”

Neil is expected to discuss his position with co-owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus and sporting director Kristjaan Speakman, and will be seeking assurances about the level of investment he can expect this summer.

Sunderland’s income will rise by around £10m following their promotion to the Championship, but they will have to increase their wage bill by around that amount just to reach a level where they are approaching the average for the second tier.

“It was easy for me coming to Sunderland when I did because when I looked at that squad, I thought I could do the job that was required,” Neil continued. “I walked in the door and it was, ‘Right, there’s the squad, win games’. And I went, ‘No problem’.

“But when transfer windows open up, and you go to the next level and you’re aspiring to be higher than that level, then that’s very different.

“There’s got to be a lot of work. There’s got to be investment, and different facets that make you competitive in the next league. It’s like anybody else, if you’re doing a job, I’m sure you want the tools to do that job. I’m no different. That’s pretty much where we are.”

Sunderland’s complex ownership model is a potential obstacle that will need to be overcome, with controlling shareholder Louis-Dreyfus not owning a majority of the club’s shares.

The Madrox group of Stewart Donald, Charlie Methven and Juan Sartori remain majority owners, but Neil is adamant he does not want to become embroiled in the club’s boardroom politics.

“If I’m being honest, I don’t really care about that side of things,” he said. “I just want people to give me what I think I need to do the job as best I can. Whether it’s split, whether it’s an individual, whether it’s three of them, whether it’s ten of them, I’m not really bothered. That’s for them to sort out. What I want is to do the best I can for the club. The rest of it is not my problem.”