The story of Jimmy Dunne's career so far and what the talented defender could bring to Sunderland

Sunderland are hoping to make Jimmy Dunne their first signing of the January window.

Monday, 7th January 2019, 9:58 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 12:49 pm
Jimmy Dunne has had three impressive loan spells in his career so far

Jack Ross has been keen to add some depth and physicality to his backline this month and the Burnley defender looks to fit the bill.

So what will he bring to Wearside?

We take a look at the story so far....

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Dunne came through the ranks at Manchester United and move to Burnley in the summer of 2016.

His career really took off last season when he had two very successful loan spells.

The 21-year-old had his first taste of senior football during a loan spell at National League side Barrow, where he quickly became a regular.

In January of this year he stepped up a level by moving on loan to John Coleman's Accrington Stanley.

Again, Dunne worked his way into the side and never looked back.

He was nominated for the player of the month award in February and made 20 appearances as the club stormed to the title.

He made such an impression that Coleman had been keen to bring him in again for the current campaign.

However, he stayed with Burnley and played during the pre-season programme, even scoring against Cork City.

In August he moved to Hearts after their club captain Christophe Berra suffered an injury.

He made 14 appearances and scored two goals before picking up an injury of his own.

His form had been excellent, quickly winning the affections of Hearts supporters and even triggering an international tug of war.

He is eligible to play for both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, twice playing for the Republic's U21 side.

After learning of Northern Ireland's interest, Martin O'Neill quickly gave him a first call up, though he is yet to be capped.

A move to Sunderland will be the next test in a promising career to date.


Dunne remains inexperienced but has his impressed his managers to date with his maturity and aggression.

Early on his loan spell at Barrow manager Ady Pennock marked him out as an 'old-fashioned' defender.

"I want him to do unbelievably well," Pennock said.

"I want him to do very well for us and push on up. He has been great.

"He’s an old fashioned centre-half and he will make a fortune in the game if he carries on the way he is, because it’s all tippy-tappy Charlies around centre-halves at the moment.”

Craig Levein had hoped to keep Dunne for the rest of the season after being impressed with his contributions.

"I've been pleased with him," he said.

"He has brought for a young guy quite a lot of calmness to the team along with his obvious attributes.

"He is a good passer of the ball and is good in the air and has decent pace. He is a calm boy, he is low maintenance and is not difficult to deal with at all."


Dunne did not play in December but is fit again and featured in an U23 game for Burnley on Monday.

The defender completed 90 minutes in a narrow 1-0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday.

The Irishman, should he complete the move, would offer an aerial threat that has perhaps been lacking in the Sunderland defence this season.

Ross is also keen to have extra options in defence with Tom Flanagan and Jack Baldwin playing the vast majority of games.

On Monday Ross opened up on the challenges that has posed.

"They've played a lot of games but also mentally it is a new challenge for them.

"Tactically it is a bit different as well and then there is the expectation we face.

"Charlton got a big reception leaving the pitch on Saturday and that shows how we're viewed in this league.

"They're young men and it's a big ask for them mentally to keep churning out performances.

"Then there is the scrutiny, which is a word I've used a lot.

"When people in Scotland ask me [what's different about this club] I say that.

"Every decision you make, there's always that and it takes a bit of adjusting to.

"For me, I'm a lot older so it is much easier to cope with it with my life experience.

"A lot of these players are playing for a really big club for the first time and it is very different.

"So far they've coped very well with it."

If Sunderland can get a deal over the line then he will add both variety and depth for the rest of the season.