HULL CITY are unlikely to make a January move for Fraizer Campbell despite Steve Bruce’s admiration for his former striker.
The Sunderland hitman was the subject of renewed reports linking him with a return to Hull yesterday, as he prepares to enter the final six months of his contract at the Stadium of Light.
Tigers boss Bruce would be eager to sign Campbell if he became available after spending £3.5million to take him from Manchester United to the Stadium of Light in the summer of 2009.
But there are two major barriers towards the former Sunderland manager conducting a third raid on his old employees – if he is allowed to leave Wearside – after already taking David Meyler and Ahmed Elmohamady to the KC Stadium on loan.
Hull would struggle to cover Campbell’s Sunderland’s wages, with Bruce expected to be handed a limited budget in January, even though he is keen to add fire-power to the Tigers’ promotion challenge.
And it is also uncertain whether Campbell would be prepared to drop down a division after only winning his first England cap nine months ago.
Although Campbell is yet to feature in Sunderland’s starting XI this season, the 25-year-old remains confident he can prove a success in the Premier League.
Certainly, there is no shortage of interest in Campbell from the Championship, with home-town team Huddersfield Town making an inquiry to take him on loan at the end of the summer transfer window.
But it remains to be seen whether Martin O’Neill will be prepared to let Campbell leave in January after handing the striker his first substitute’s outing in a month in last weekend’s defeat at Norwich City.
O’Neill is unlikely to sanction either a loan or permanent exit for Campbell unless he can boost his strike force during the window.
Sunderland have already been linked with a move for Swansea’s Danny Graham and Celtic’s Gary Hooper, with O’Neill understood to be looking for a couple of fresh acquisitions to boost the Black Cats’ perilous position.
But even if Campbell does stay, it is unlikely to signal that he will be offered a new contract to remain at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland are yet to give any indication of new deals for Campbell, Titus Bramble and Matt Kilgallon, who all have just six months left on their contracts.
A move to Hull in the summer may be a more likely scenario for Campbell, with a lucrative signing-on fee as a Bosman agent compensating the reduced wages on offer.
And with Campbell still a firm favourite on Humberside after his 15 goals in 34 games helped Hull to promotion during his loan spell in 2007-08, a return to his former club could be a tempting option if there are a shortage of top-flight suitors.