Hectic 72 hours for Martin Bain as Sunderland look to tie up deals

Sunderland chief executive Martin Bain is braced for a hectic 72 hours as the club continue to try to make a striker breakthrough.

Monday, 29th January 2018, 5:30 am
Martin Bain

The Black Cats are desperate to add some attacking reinforcements to their squad as they battle to avoid successive relegations.

A deal for Derby County forward Chris Martin remains in the balance, with Sunderland privately hoping to have had a resolution over the weekend.

Bain and manager Chris Coleman have a list of striking alternatives, but the clock is ticking ahead of Wednesday’s 11pm deadline.

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More pressing is today’s lunchtime deadline if Sunderland want to field any new signing against Birmingham City tomorrow. As it stands, the only new face in the squad for that game will be Kazenga LuaLua, who joined on Thursday night.

Coleman will decide whether to include Lamine Kone and Jonny Williams in his plans, after both came through Under-23s games over the last seven days.

Williams, out since November with a shoulder injury, played 80 minutes yesterday against Arsenal U23s as Coleman and Kit Symons watched on from the stand.

Didier Ndong will again sit out the fixture as he serves the second match of his three-game suspension for his sending-off at Cardiff, and it may be that the midfielder has played his last game for the club.

Reports yesterday claimed that Watford have reignited their interest in the Gabon international, with new Hornets boss Javi Gracia keen to make the 23-year-old his first signing.

Watford had enquired earlier this month about taking Ndong on loan with view to signing him in the summer, but Coleman ruled that out and said any deal would have to be a permanent one.

It is incomings which Coleman is focusing most on, however. He is still in the market for an attacking midfielder as well as at least one striker, while the club could also move for a goalkeeper before the deadline.

Leeds shot-stoper Andy Lonergan remains their main target, but they were linked with a move for Middlesbrough veteran Dimi Konstantopoulos over the weekend.