Sunderland boss Tony Mowbray explains current free-agent stance and his plan to manage latest striker setback

Sunderland have held discussions over adding a free agent to their squad after discovering Ellis Simms could miss a number of games with his persistent toe problem.

However, head coach Tony Mowbray said the decision for now is to press on with the group he has, earmarking Amad Diallo as a player who could make a major impression in the coming weeks.

Simms has been unable to return to training after suffering an injury against Reading, with the Black Cats now in dialogue with Everton as to what the next steps will be.

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Manchester United loanee Amad made a major impression against Watford in Sunderland's last game, which Mowbray believes is a sign of things to come.

Sunderland forward Amad Diallo

"We've sat and explored it [free agent market], we've had meetings and discussions," Mowbray said.

"It's not about just bringing a player in and trying to find a centre-forward, I think what the team have shown it's not necessarily about having a centre-forward it's about having bodies. And if the right body isn't available, you don't bring them in just for the sake of it because the dynamic of the group is the most important thing.

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"As I sit here now, collectively we believe we should push on with what we've got.

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"We've got attacking players and I do believe Amad is someone who is going to burst onto the scene at some stage and people are going to say, 'wow, why wasn't he starting?!'

"He is a centre forward, he's just a different type to Ross and Ellis. It's about finding ways of playing and we'll do that. Amad is a striker, it's just that he's one who likes to come to the ball, he likes to turn, run with it, dribble and slip players in as opposed to being at the sharp end of it.

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"He's a good option for us, and we've done well with players like Pritchard and Embleton as well.

"We'll have to see with Ellis and how long it takes to heal, it might be a few weeks, let's hope not, but we need to make sure we get him right, playing without pain so he can go and bang the goals in for us."