SUNDERLAND are ready to offer James McFadden a new contract ... and then send the Scotland international out on loan to the Championship.
McFadden’s short-term deal at the Stadium of Light expired on Saturday, with the 29-year-old making just three appearances from the bench since arriving on a Bosman deal in October.
But with McFadden showing encouraging signs on the training field after being beset by injury problems since damaging cruciate knee ligaments just over two years ago, O’Neill is prepared to offer the former Everton man a contract until the end of the season.
O’Neill is aware of McFadden’s scant opportunities for first-team football though and is toying with the idea of sending the forward on loan to a Championship club for a brief stint of competitive action.
“His contract has expired now and we’re having a look at it again,” said O’Neill.
“Obviously James wants to play some games, but there’s people keeping him out of the team.
“Just recently, it’s as fit as he’s been and he’s been training every day without any problems. From that aspect, it’s good.
“We’ll have a look at it and we need to agree something with the agent and player of course.
“But it might be a case of bringing him back, letting him go on loan to the Championship to get a game or two, and ensuring he is fresh for the back end of the season and properly match-fit.
“That’s a possibility, but it’s a situation I’m reviewing.”
O’Neill is also keen to keep Ahmed Elmohamady at the Stadium of Light after the Egyptian winger was recalled from his season-long loan at Hull City.
Although Elmohamady may re-join Hull on an emergency loan before the end of the season, it is highly unlikely he will be allowed to leave before Thursday’s transfer deadline.
Elmohamady made a cameo appearance from the bench in the win at Wigan 10 days ago and with Lee Cattermole, Carlos Cuellar and Danny Rose still sidelined, O’Neill cannot boast an abundance of options in his squad.
“I wouldn’t have thought he’ll go before Thursday,” said O’Neill.
“Of course Hull are disappointed and Elmo wants to continue starting in the side.