Jack Ross is closing in on a defensive addition but admits the impressive form of makeshift right-back Luke O’Nien will give him a selection headache.
The midfielder has been deputising for Adam Matthews and goalscorer O’Nien, 24, was the standout performer in the 1-1 draw with Charlton Athletic.
Ross hopes to have Matthews back training this week following a calf injury but there is no guarantee he will walk back into the side.
Sunderland are close to signing a defender on loan, with Ross keen to add physicality to his centre-back choices.
On O’Nien’s impressive form, Ross said: “Luke reflects what we have tried to do and how we want to take the club forward.
“We have identified a player that I think fits this club and he has the potential to get better. We have seen already in the six months he has been here he has improved.
“Every week he looks like he will continue to get better, his contribution has been terrific and I think he will continue to do that.”
Pressed on a potential selection headache, Ross said: “I have shown all season that I have been in the main loyal to players that have come in and performed well.
“Hopefully that is why, by and large, when players have had the opportunity to start or come off the bench they have performed well because they understand when they do that, I am consistent in that approach. Luke is performing well in that role.
“He would have also given us another option in the middle of the pitch as we were stretched and only really had Max and Dylan, Bali on the bench.
“So, Adam being fit and healthy strengthens my squad one way or another. I am hoping he will train the beginning of the week, it has been frustrating for him.”
Ross remains confident he will add to his squad, adding: “Still hoping to bring one in the beginning of the week, it is not all done and dusted yet but hopeful that will be the case and it will strengthen us again.”