O’Neill keen to boost Sunderland attack during January

Danny Graham
Danny Graham
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MARTIN O’NEILL admits he is keen to boost Sunderland’s front-line during the transfer window.

Sunderland are leading the chase for Swansea striker Danny Graham, with the Black Cats eager to bring the Chester-le-Street-born frontman back to the North East in a £5million deal.

The deal is likely to drag on during the remainder of the window, with Swansea looking to sign Stoke’s former Sunderland hit-man Kenwyne Jones before they allow Graham (right) to leave the Liberty Stadium.

But O’Neill has confirmed he is eager to provide some support for top scorer Steven Fletcher, who has scored eight of Sunderland’s 21 goals in the Premier League this season.

Although Connor Wickham has made significant strides over recent months, the forward is still only 19 and has just six top flight starts to his name.

Fraizer Campbell is out of contract in the summer and unlikely to be offered a new deal, while Louis Saha, who missed last weekend’s FA Cup third round tie at Bolton with a minor hamstring problem, has been among the substitutes just once in the last 11 games.

Although Stephane Sessegnon could return to the starting XI against West Ham tomorrow after returning to training yesterday following an ankle injury, O’Neill is aware he is not blessed with an abundance of attacking options.

The Sunderland boss told the Echo: “We need somebody to help share the goals.

“We need to be looking for someone because if anything happens to Fletcher we’re in a spot of bother.”

O’Neill is also eager to boost his options at centre-half, but insists a deal for Hungarian defender Roland Juhasz was never on the agenda. Sunderland have been linked with a loan move for the 29-year-old, who has fallen out of favour at Anderlecht this season.

But with Juhasz closing in on a move to Turkish outfit Trabzonspor, O’Neill has confirmed he wasn’t on Sunderland’s shortlist.

“I don’t know where it came from,” said O’Neill. “I wouldn’t have been interested in him. I didn’t really know enough about him.”

One player who WAS on Sunderland’s radar was former Everton midfielder Tim Cahill. The Echo understands Cahill was keen to join Sunderland on a two-month loan from New York Red Bulls during the MLS off-season and was ready to reject interest from three other Premier League clubs to move to the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland had provisionally agreed a deal for Cahill to arrive at the beginning of the transfer window and remain on Wearside until the end of February.

But the parameters of the deal began to change until Sunderland were faced with a situation where the Aussie would only be available for a five-week period.

That has led to Sunderland ending their interest in the 33-year-old.