MARTIN O’Neill has allowed his mind to wander to the transfer market for the first time since taking over the club.
However, he says he is still unsure whether Sunderland will enter the transfer market at all during the January transfer window, though hinted he would like to add depth to his squad to avoid being caught short in the second half of the season.
“Whether we are participants or not, the January transfer window is now open and I’ll have a little look,” he said.
“But what you wouldn’t want is to arrive at February 1, the window is closed and then the next thing you know you have three or four injuries to key players.
“You don’t want to be in a situation where things you hoped might not occur, do occur and then all of a sudden, you find yourself struggling.
“I know that, in the past, when I was managing at Wycombe and the old transfer deadline used to be the third week in March, you could stockpile a couple of players at the end just to carry you through.
“That’s not feasible now, but I certainly wouldn’t want us to be short of numbers, if it is possible to avoid it.”
O’Neill has said since his first day as Sunderland manager that he took the Stadium of Light job without asking about what or whether there might be money available in the January transfer window.
But with injuries to the Michael Turner, Wes Brown, Titus Bramble, Phil Bardsley, Jack Colback, Connor Wickham and Nicklas Bendtner stretching the squad to breaking point over Christmas and the New Year, O’Neill is aware this is his last chance to bring in any more bodies – either on permanent deals or on loan – until the end of the season.
The manager seems almost at pains to prove he is no “cheque-book manager” after his free-spending days at Aston Villa.
And he certainly made a good start in that direction, with a string of good results in recent weeks which have hugely encouraged the Sunderland public.
“It’s nice to have come through the busy Christmas and New Year period successfully and we can take stock now,” he said.
“It has been a busy spell and I’m delighted we have picked up some points and made it into the fourth round of the cup.
“Now it gives us a chance to look at things, but I honestly don’t yet know whether we will be involved in the transfer market this month.”