Sunderland will look to ship out Nyron Nosworthy and Matt Kilgallon on loans next week as Steve Bruce completes the summer overhaul of his squad.
The duo have been surplus to requirements at the Stadium of Light for some time now and their names have been circulated to other clubs as players who are available.
But with no takers so far, Sunderland will concentrate their efforts now that the transfer window has closed on finding them clubs and getting them off the wage bill when the emergency loan window opens next Wednesday.
Nosworthy spent all of last season on loan to Sheffield United while Kilgallon, right, after an injury-hit spell at Middlesbrough, saw out the season at Doncaster.
Now the hunt is on for clubs who will take them as Bruce looks to strip his squad down only to players who are likely to have some involvement in the forthcoming campaign.
It has been a summer of change at the Stadium of Light with 11 new players in and 10 players – four of them, their loans having expired – leaving the club.
Among the exits were George McCartney (loan), Cristian Riveros (loan), Steed Malbranque and Anton Ferdinand – a quartet the manager had earmarked for departure.
And that has left only Nosworthy, left, and Kilgallon – Marcos Angeleri remains sidelined with injury – remaining of the players Bruce will allow to leave.
The two defenders can leave on emergency loans to clubs outside the Premier League from next Wednesday, with a maximum stay of three months. After that, clubs can reapply to take the players for the remainder of the season.
It has been a tricky transfer window for chairman Niall Quinn and manager Steve Bruce as they look to improve the squad while balancing the books as much as possible.
Owner Ellis Short has been adamant that Sunderland’s squad must become leaner this season and because of that, the focus has been as much on getting players out as bringing them in.
Once Nosworthy and Kilgallon go, though, the overhauling of a bloated squad, begun by Quinn and then boss Ricky Sbragia in the wake of Roy Keane’s departure and accelerated by Bruce, will be all but complete.
Sunderland will also look to make the most of the loan system to blood their young players.
Oumare Tounkara, who spent last season on loan at Oldham Athletic, is due to go out, as are Jordan Cook, Adam Reed and, when fit, England Under-20 international Ryan Noble. All three had loans last season.
Beyond that, Bruce will consider letting several other promising youngsters go out in pursuit of first-team football over the course of the season.