Sunderland’s top flight status is far from secure, but that’s not stopped boss David Moyes casting his net far and wide in search of reinforcements ahead of next season.
Whether they stay up or go down it’s likely there will be an overhaul at the club in the summer.
And the Black Cats have sent scouts across Europe in recent weeks with representatives popping up everywhere from Portugal to Serbia.
Moyes has even been on a couple of scouting missions in person – one of which was on Friday evening, when he was in the crowd at Tannadice for the top of the Scottish Championship clash between Dundee United and Hibs.
But who might the manager have been watching?
Prominent Scottish scout Neil Ferry, who was at the game, reveals the Hibs trio who Moyes was most likely paying particular attention to.
And he gives his thoughts on whether he thinks the threesome have got the tools to make it in the English game.
NF: “Of all the players on show it’s most likely that striker Cummings is the player Moyes was taking a look at.
“He is a young striker who has everything. His workrate is top class and his willingness to chase down defenders and run in behind to get on the end of things is what makes him stand out at this level.
“A lot of clubs have looked at Cummings, many of which have been from the English Championship, in recent years.
“And it would be no shock to see him move in the next couple of windows.
“On Friday evening, until the moment he got red-carded, the manager would have liked what he saw.
“Cummings was sent off for two bookings, one of which was a Superman-like dive to bundle the ball home with his hand.
“Although the fact he was dismissed will be a little concern, to make it down South you have to have a willingness to do anything to win. By sneakily trying to punch the ball in the net, Cummmings showed he’s got just that.”
NF: “For me although McGinn has been making it into recent Scotland squads and receiving rave reviews I just don’t think he is ready for the English game.
“There is no doubt he is a talented player, who had a decent game at the weekend, but physically I’m not at all sure he can make the step up just yet.
“This does not say Moyes was not having a look over him, though.
“McGinn, whose two brothers both play in the English Football League, might well get a move South, but I would be surprised if it was to a club of the level of Sunderland at this stage in his career.”
NF: “This is a move that could make perfect sense for Sunderland and Moyes, whichever division he ends up in.
“If the Black Cats are looking for a top quality, international defender in a cut-price deal they should look no further than Ambrose, who is on loan at Hibs from Celtic at the moment.
“He is a player with a good reputation down in England, and on the continent. And it looks like Brendan Rodgers is keen to let him leave in the summer.
“If Sunderland are looking for a defender, who can play right-back or in the centre, in the summer then Ambrose could fit the bill.
“Plenty of clubs will be interested in snapping him up from Celtic Park come May.”