Martin O'Neill and Ellis Short set for transfer summit

SUNDERLAND boss Martin O’Neill says both he and chairman Ellis Short are set for talks soon to plan possible signings for next season.

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill
Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill

SUNDERLAND boss Martin O’Neill says both he and chairman Ellis Short are set for talks soon to plan possible signings for next season.

Short was on Wearside to take in Sunderland’s 2-2 draw at the Stadium of Light against relegation-threatened Bolton Wanderers. Nicklas Bendtner cancelled out Kevin Davies’ opener before James McClean put the Black Cats in front.

However, the Wearsiders were denied the three points when Kevin Davies levelled from close range to ensure the Black Cats have now gone seven games without a victory.

While the squad has made an improvement since O’Neill arrived, it is obvious that some fresh blood is needed and his forthcoming sit-down with Short could determine whether or not next season will be a successful one.

O’Neill said: “He (Short) joined us last night for a bite of dinner with the rest of the team and he does that occasionally, but it was not really a proper chance to speak.

“I think both of us were more interested in what was in front of us. I am not sure what I had but would not mind having it now, but no doubt we will get an opportunity to speak.

“I think he has a really good awareness anyway and I am not so sure we needed today to have any explanation for things or perspectives on things. We will sit down and have a discussion on it but obviously we want to try and get stronger.

“We mentioned before about the fact we have some loan players here so, if at all possible, you would not mind having more permanent people at the football club because loans are there for a reason and I have been delighted that we were able to get some to

help out. But you would rather have a permanency to it because that is a proper cause and that is not to say I have been disappointed with the loans, but permanency feels you've got this cause – that does not mean please don’t throw the words back to me when I have picked another two loans on September 1.”

One player whose Sunderland future is in the air is keeper Craig Gordon. The 29-year-old, who is out of contract this summer, came back in for his first game since February last year and put in a superb display, which O’Neill admits has given him food for thought on whether or not to offer him a new deal.

The Black Cats boss added: “We will talk. There weren't any major talks – it was a conversation I wanted with all three of them.

“Simon (Mignolet) of course, like any keeper, wanted to continue but he understood I wanted Craig to play this game, and even a word for (Keiren) Westwood too who was very unlucky to lose his position to illness.

“With Craig it was not specifically this game but we wanted him to play a game before the end of the season and I think it has given him a big boost of confidence as well.

“But we have some decisions to make because the very nature of the position is there is mostly just the one major one and I have three very good keepers at the football club.

“The way that Craig performed I might have some difficult decisions to make, I would agree.”

O’Neill (below) meanwhile was full of admiration for a man he tried to sign in the January transfer window, Bolton’s veteran striker Kevin Davies who he believes can teach one Cats striker in particular a thing or two.

He added: “People talk about him being an old-fashioned centre forward but he will cause problems. He is not afraid to get hurt, he is a nuisance but he is more than that, he has actually got more than a bit of ability and he can score a goal.

“I think he is an example to aspiring centre-forwards and people like Connor Wickham could learn a great deal from him.”


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