What Sunderland and their promotion rivals are planning for and saying about the January window

The January window is open, offering Sunderland and their League One rivals a crucial opportunity to strengthen their squads.

Tuesday, 1st January 2019, 11:31 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 2:35 am
Lee Tomlin (centre) is set to join Peterborough United as the January window opens

Some deals have already been agreed with more certain to follow.

We rounded up what is being said at the top seven sides in the league currently to get a sense of what may be on the horizon.

A common theme is that who stays might be just as important as who arrives.

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SUNDERLAND

Jack Ross has confirmed that he is close to landing a defensive addition in the early stages of the window.

"All being well, that will happen," Ross said.

"There are just one or two things that need tidying up but my understanding is we should have a defensive player in by the early part of the month, most likely to be a loan."

A further defensive addition beyond that is not out of the question.

Ross needs cover at full back with Donald Love a long-term injury concern and his back-up options at the heart of defence have not always convinced.

Beyond that, Ross is eager to keep his squad together and the main talking point will be whether Josh Maja stays or goes.

If it is the latter, a goalscorer will quickly become an urgent priority.

Two other developments to watch out for could be the futures of Bryan Oviedo and Robbin Ruiter.

With Max Stryjek returning from Eastleigh, he could become number two if a good offer for Ruiter was received.

Likewise, the return of Denver Hume from injury could allow Sunderland to make a wage saving on Oviedo, if there is a suitable offer.

It will be about making tweaks to the squad, however, rather than major surgery.

Stewart Donald says the money is there to strengthen.

PORTSMOUTH

Portsmouth have already begun their January business by agreeing a deal to sign Rochdale midfielder Andy Cannon.

Cannon is an experienced 22-year-old who can play in any of three attacking midfield positions in Kenny Jackett's favoured 4-2-3-1 formation, though he has not been a regular at Spotland this season.

"Yes, we have agreed a deal with Rochdale (for Cannon) and it will be active on January 1," Jackett told The News.

‘He’s an attacking midfield player. He has been very variable at Rochdale, but in the main it has been as an attacking midfielder.

‘That has been his role, what he will bring here and how I see him."

Midfielder Ryan Yates is also set to join from Nottingham Forest.

Those additions could be offset by the loss of midfielder Ben Thompson, who is likely to be recalled, at least for a time, by Millwall.

Jackett is thought to be in the market for another striker to challenge Oli Hawkins.

Exeter City's Jayden Stockley has been linked but according to The News, is not a main target.

LUTON TOWN

Chief Executive Gary Sweet raised eyebrows at Luton when he wrote in his programme notes that it could be a 'testing month'.

Keeping the squad together could be as important for talented manager Nathan Jones, who wants to add one or two additions.

The big decision in January for the Hatters is whether they are given approval to press ahead with plans to build a new stadium.

"I think it’s a testing January is what he meant, certain things with the transfer window and so on," Jones told Luton Today.

“Of course we’re in a wonderful place, the squad’s in a wonderful place, players are developing at such a rate that there’s going to be interest.

“But we’ve got interest in other people as well, so it’s going to be interesting for that reason, not only for losing but people we add, because anyone we add is going to have to be some player and some character and some athlete."

BARNSLEY

Many expected Barnsley to be the dominant side in the division but it has not quite turned out that way.

Still, they are relatively well placed at the turn of the year and Head Coach Daniel Stendel does not expect to make many, if any, additions.

He told the Barnsley Chronicle: “My goal is not to be busy in the transfer window. We have a good squad. Sometimes we can look at new players but, for me, it is not decided that we need new players. We already have good players, we just need to play at our best in every game.”

Key for Stendel will be keeping his best players, with the likes of Ethan Pinnock and Kieffer Moore certain to attract interest.

Barnsley lost Tom Bradshaw in the closing days of the summer window, replacing him with Cauley Woodrow.

"It was not so easy that Tom Bradshaw left the club two days before the deadline, but we still have had a good season so far," Stendel said.

"I hope the players stay here but we will wait to see.”

PETERBOROUGH UNITED

Peterborough have already lined up the most eye-catching deal of the window.

Lee Tomlin is set to join on loan from Cardiff City.

A massively talented attacking midfielder, he could be a real matchwinner in the third tier.

Of course, he has struggled for regular gametime in recent years and so it remains to be seen whether he can reach his peak form.

Manager Steve Evans says his squad is in need of extra additions.

"We’ve been running on three tyres rather than four since early in November,” Evans told Peterborough Today.

“The lads are giving the club everything, but it’s too easy to get into our team at the moment and I need that to change.

"Saying we’ve lost for the first time in 12 games makes it look better than it actually is. It’s not a sticky run of form, it’s worse than that. We won’t go up if we stay as we are.

“We are not suffering from a lack of hard work, we are suffering from an inability to get the ball down and play."

Posh since bounced back to form with a 4-0 win over Accrington Stanley, and Chairman Darragh MacAnthony said 'some tweaks' will be made to the squad.

He ruled out selling star striker Ivan Toney. CHARLTON ATHLETIC

It looks set to be a testing month for Charlton, who are going through an injury crisis amid continued fears key players could be sold by owner Roland Duchatelet.

Lee Bowyer is desperate for a left back at the very least.

He told London News Online: "I hope to bring in one or two quickly.

"We have to, because we have got no bodies.

“We have to bring in at least two who are fit and can play.

“We are trying our hardest to find a left-back but there are not many out there who can come and play, apart from kids – and we don’t want to take a kid who is unproven.”

Star striker Lyle Taylor urged the owner not to sell.

"We have to keep everyone – and that includes players who haven’t played so much like Nicky Ajose and Mark Marshall,” said Taylor.

“We have got a small squad as it is.

“We’re a tight-knit squad and we’re a squad who work well together. The fact people are stepping in and making a difference, as has happened in the last few weeks, that needs to continue.

“We can’t get rid of anyone. I’m sure the manager would want one or two in the door to help us.

“I don’t know if these words will ever be read by the owner of the football club, but he needs to know that we as a squad need to stay together. Hopefully that’s the message he’ll be getting from those people who are in contact with him.”

One player who looked set to leave was Joe Aribo, but a long-term injury has cast doubt on that and further depleted Bowyer's options.

DONCASTER ROVERS

Keeping star loanees Herbie Kane and Mallik Wilks is vital for Doncaster, with the former already signed up and the latter soon to follow.

Grant McCann has agreed a deal with former West Ham trainee Kieran Sadlier, a promising goalscorer who joins from Cork City.

He has also signed young striker Tyler Smith on loan from Sheffield United.

"It's signed, sealed and delivered,” said McCann.

“He'll come in on January 1.

“He’s quick, runs in behind and scores goals. He’ll be good for us.”