Bolton Wanderers have moved to warn off admirers of striker Gary Madine by declaring he is not for sale in January.
The striker is understood to be on Sunderland's radar next month, as revealed by the Echo, but Wanderers have taken the unusual step of stating any interest would not be entertained.
Madine and Josh Vela have both been linked with moves away from the Macron in January, prompting Bolton officials to issue a statement outlining their position, with the Championship club looking to bolster their ranks.
A club spokesman told the Bolton News: "We have had no interest in any of our players and if we did it would not be entertained.
"The manager and the chief scout are meeting today to discuss their plans for next month.
"We are only interested in bringing players in."
Midfielder Vela had been linked with Championship rivals Derby County, Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United.
Madine, meanwhile, has scored six goals in 22 appearances for Bolton this season including two in their 3-1 win over Barnsley last weekend and once in the 3-3 draw at the Stadium of Light, which was Simon Grayson’s last game in charge of Sunderland.
The 27-year-old target man joined Bolton in the summer of 2015 and signed a new two-year deal in May to extend his stay at the Macron Stadium.
Birtley-born Madine progressed through the youth ranks of Carlisle United before joining Sheffield Wednesday while he has had loan spells at Rochdale, Coventry City, Chesterfield and Blackpool.
He has also had a spell in prison after being convicted of assault in October, 2013, serving five months of an 18-month sentence.
Cash-strapped Sunderland will be severely limited financially in the transfer market and Chris Coleman knows he will have to box clever when the January window opens.
The striking department is one area Coleman will look to strengthen, especially if Bournemouth recall Lewis Grabban.
Liverpool duo goalkeeper Danny Ward and forward Ben Woodburn - both of who played a part under Coleman in the Wales set-up - feature prominently in Coleman’s thoughts.
Money will be tight for the Black Cats but Coleman hopes to make some additions and wants the club to be on the 'front foot' should Bournemouth recall Grabban.