MARTIN O’NEILL is prepared to bring David Meyler back to Wearside for the jam-packed festive season, if Sunderland’s squad becomes depleted.
Meyler joined former Sunderland boss Steve Bruce at Hull City this week after penning a two-month loan with the Championship outfit that keeps him at the KC Stadium until January 1.
The Republic of Ireland midfielder has started just one game this season – September’s Capital One Cup victory at MK Dons – and O’Neill wants him to boost his match-fitness with the promotion-chasing Tigers.
But O’Neill is willing to use the safety net of the 28-day recall clause built into the loan deal, which could see Meyler available for six of Sunderland’s seven games next month, if he is brought back to the Stadium of Light because of injuries or suspensions.
A similar scenario applies to Connor Wickham, with several Championship outfits eager to take the £8million striker on loan.
O’Neill told the Echo: “I’m always concerned about letting first-team players go out on loan because we might not have the greatest squad size.
“But it’s tempered by the fact that players need to play and rather than throwing someone in who hasn’t featured for five or six weeks, at least you know he’s fresh.
“We have an instant recall after 28 days which brings in a couple of games into that category.
“With the rearranged game against Reading (December 11) for example, if we wanted to, he could be recalled before that.
“It was trying to fit in a time-scale for him to go out.
“It’s the same with Connor Wickham, who a lot of people have asked about.”
Bruce has been looking to sign Meyler, ever since taking charge at Hull during the summer.
Initially, O’Neill was reluctant to let the 23-year-old leave, but with Sunderland now eliminated from the Capital One Cup, Meyler’s opportunities would be limited after missing out on a place on the bench for the last two Premier League games.
“It would be great for him to play and he wants to play,” said O’Neill.
“He knows Steve anyway and I think he’s going to play him in the games. Injuries apart, I hope it will work out well for everybody.
“He’s playing at Championship level so he’ll get some fitness and he’s playing for a cause too.”