CLUBS from both sides of the border are keeping a watching brief on James McFadden, with the Scot’s short-term deal at Sunderland expiring today.
McFadden penned a three-month contract at the Stadium of Light in October, to give him the chance to prove he was worthy of a longer term stay at the club after featuring only eight times for Everton last season.
But the 29-year-old has made just three appearances from the bench under Martin O’Neill, with a 30-minute outing in the 3-0 defeat at Liverpool providing his only notable opportunity to make an impression.
McFadden’s contract expires today and he is unlikely to be offered a new one, unless O’Neill considers his squad is too thin to dispense with the Scotland international’s services.
If Sunderland do opt to release McFadden, then there is interest both from the Championship and the SPL for the former Birmingham forward.
McFadden is thought to be on the radar of Nottingham Forest boss Alex McLeish after the pair worked together at international level.
And both Aberdeen and Motherwell, who were interested in signing McFadden before his arrival at Sunderland, are also in the running.
Aberdeen were prepared to offer McFadden a contract following his release by Everton last May, while the versatile frontman trained with former club Motherwell during pre-season.
McFadden’s chances of remaining on Wearside though may well depend on O’Neill’s transfer activity before Thursday’s 11pm deadline, with the Sunderland boss hoping to add Swansea’s Danny Graham to his squad as a minimum.
Although McFadden has made little impression during his brief stint at the Stadium of Light, O’Neill is conscious that his squad is not the biggest in the Premier League.
The Black Cats have managed to bring in Alfred N’Diaye and Kader Mangane, but O’Neill has also parted with the services of David Meyler, Fraizer Campbell and Ji Dong-won.
Ahmed Elmohamady was brought back from his loan spell at Hull City to make up the numbers for last weekend’s win at Wigan, with the Egyptian taking his place alongside McFadden on the Sunderland bench.
And although Danny Rose, Lee Cattermole and Carlos Cuellar are close to returning from injury, there remains the prospect of Elmohamady returning to Hull.