John Hughes for Roker?

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SUNDERLAND manager, Mr Bob Stokoe, is poised to move for the striker whom he is keen to add to the Sunderland attack and is hopeful of lining up his man in time for Saturday’s home game against Millwall.

But by denying nothing he is leaving a wide open field for spectators. His two-fold objective in wanting a power man in attack is to ensure a better flow of goals from the top-quality attacking play which the team is producing and to relieve the pressure on Dave Watson, who wants to settle down at centre half, but in service of the team is having to take on extra responsibilities in attack.

The presence of club chairman Mr Keith Collings and chief scout Charlie Ferguson at St James’s Park on Saturday is taken as a sign that Crystal Palace’s forceful forward John Hughes – elder brother of Sunderland’s Billy – has moved to the top of the wanted list. And this appears to be supported by the fact that Mr Stokoe recently discussed the player’s availability with Palace manger, Mr Bert Head.

The London club are prepared to let Hughes go at their price and Hughes is keen to make a move which will take him nearer home.

But Mr Stokoe gives little away in hard fact. He said: “There may be something happening this week. It could be Hughes or somebody else.”

After Saturday’s game at Swindon, he hinted at the possibility of an early move into the transfer market and said: “The next move is the big one and I’ve got to be sure it is the right man.

Short-term buy?

“I want it to be a player who can give a lot of service and we have the net out again this weekend taking a good look at one or two players. If it has to be short-term buy then we will settle for that, but I know where my preference lies at the moment.”

Sunderland’s name has also been linked with interest in Manchester United players Wynn Davies and Ted MacDougall, but most of the recent scouting missions have been in Scottish football.

Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on January 22 1973.