Sunderland will have to be patient in pursuit of Burnley's Jon Walters as Middlesbrough forward emerges as option

Burnley boss Sean Dyche is refusing to rule out the possibility of Jon Walters leaving on loan this month - but Sunderland will have to be patient.

Tuesday, 16th January 2018, 2:25 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th January 2018, 2:25 pm
Jon Walters.

The 34-year-old is on Sunderland’s radar with Chris Coleman desperate to bolster his attacking options.

Following the departures of Lewis Grabban and James Vaughan this month, Sunderland currently only have teenage forwards Josh Maja and Joel Asoro to call upon.

Walters, a £3million summer signing from Stoke City, is one of a number of forwards on Coleman’s wanted list but the Black Cats will have to be patient.

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A knee injury has seen Walters’ opportunities limited, with the Republic of Ireland international playing just 37 minutes of Premier League football for the Clarets so far this season.

He was an unused sub at the weekend.

When asked if Walters was Sunderland-bound, Dyche told the Lancashire Telegraph: “Not at the moment.”

Asked if the move could happen later in the window, Dyche added: “We’ll see.”

It is understood the return to fitness of striker Chris Wood could allow Walters to move out on loan later this month.

Coleman has also been credited with an interest in promising Manchester City striker Lukas Nmecha.

The 19-year-old made his first-team debut for Pep Guardiola against Leicester in the Carabao Cup last month.

Another option is Middlesbrough striker Ashley Fletcher, who is expected to leave the Riverside on loan this month but Sunderland would face competition for his signature.

The £6.5million summer signing has struggled for game time at Boro, the ex-West Ham United striker playing just 39 minutes in the Championship since the end of October and 11 minutes under new boss Tony Pulis.

Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom has already confirmed his interest in taking Fletcher back to Oakwell, he enjoyed a loan spell there earlier in his career.

Norwich City have also been credited with an interest in the 22-year-old.

Pulis has said he will look to move some players on this month, either permanently or on loan.

Earlier this month, Pulis said: “There are players here, like Fletcher, who I have not seen play for a few years, who I’m not sure if he suits the players here we have got. That is just talking about one individual player who Steve Gibson has spent a lot of money on.

“There are so many players who are similar who play in the same positions as well. It’s finding the best players to suit a system.”

Speaking after the Cardiff City defeat, Coleman stressed the need for new signings up front, with Sunderland hosting relegation rivals Hull City at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

Coleman said: “This window will be huge for us in that department, we know that, we absolutely know that.

“It’s not a case of ‘I’m hoping’, we’ve got to do it.”