Gus Poyet considers using Fabio Borini as a middle man

Coach Gustavo Poyet says Fabio Borini is close to starting as a centre-forward for Sunderland

Stu Forster/Getty Images Sunderland's Fabio Borini
Sunderland's Fabio Borini

Gustavo Poyet hopes to be “very busy in the transfer market this week” but if he fails to land the centre-forward he wants, Fabio Borini could yet get his chance.

The Italian is keen to play down the middle but has been used almost exclusively as a wide player since joining Sunderland on a season-long loan from Liverpool.

With Jozy Altidore again looking bereft of confidence against Kidderminster Harriers, Steven Fletcher little better recently and talk Cardiff City are the more likely destination for top striker target Ignacio Scocco, Borini could be an option.

Poyet nearly took it in Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie.

“I have considered playing Borini through the middle,” said the coach after the 1-0 win. “Saturday was one of those days, but we reassessed when Andrea Dossena could not play and Borini has had a few knocks so we didn’t want to start with him.

“At 1-0 I sent him on to score the goal which would have made us relax, but it’s getting very close to the day when he starts through the middle.”

Although Sunderland were unable to put their non-league opponents out of reach, Poyet was not concerned by their low-key performance after resting 10 starters from the League Cup semi-final second leg at Manchester United.

He added: “People were saying, ‘Wow, what about the last 10 minutes’ but I wasn’t nervous.

“There wasn’t really any danger.

“If you’d said before the game these 11 players would perform the way they did in the opening 20 minutes I would probably have taken that, especially with no injuries and getting 90 minutes out of some of the players.

“I will work a little harder on the finer points. Those who played on Saturday and on Wednesday, hitting the target when they shoot, making the right decisions, better movement in the box. Our timing still isn’t right to score goals.

“We had 23 shots but perhaps we shot too early too many times.

“The other day at Old Trafford I was really surprised to find out our first shot on target was Phil Bardsley in the 119th minute. That’s scary, very scary.”

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