SUNDERLAND’S hopes of landing former England striker Kevin Davies on a loan deal look set to be dashed by Bolton.
The Black Cats are looking for a short-term fix to their pressing need for attacking reinforcements and while Martin O’Neill is keen on signing an experienced striker, he does not want to spend significant chunks of cash when a summer overhaul is on the cards.
That has prompted him to look at the loan market and while Davies would fit the bill of being a target man with plenty of Premier League experience, the Trotters will only consider letting him go on a permanent basis. The veteran forward is also understood to be eyeing a long-term contract, fully aware that he is coming to the end of an impressive career.
Wolves have also made contact with Bolton this window but at the moment it appears as if Davies will be staying at the Reebok. Aware that things may change in the frantic last few hours of the transfer window, Sunderland will continue to monitor him for the final five days of the month.
Sunderland are also understood to have considered a move for Aston Villa’s Emile Heskey but again, it would have to represent value for money and O’Neill is keen not to disrupt the unity of a Black Cats squad that has been purring of late.
Even though they have been in fine form they still require attacking reinforcements – a need that has become more acute with the news that Nicklas Bendtner will be missing until mid-February with a facial injury.
The Danish forward broke his nose in the weekend defeat of Swansea and scans have confirmed a serious injury that will definitely rule him out of the FA Cup derby with Middlesbrough.
Sunderland took Enoch Balotelli and free agent Zlatan Muslimovic on trial earlier in the week but The Journal has been told that neither offered immediate evidence that they are what the Black Cats are looking for.
The club will continue to run the rule over potential trialists and Muslimovic will be given another opportunity to impress but O’Neill is reticent about adding someone who he does not believe can cut it at the top level.
Sunderland also have Fraizer Campbell to return after he made his comeback for the reserves on Tuesday. The striker is taking his time before returning but is desperate to make his mark after nearly 18 months on the sidelines.
“I’m looking forward to that moment,” he said. “It’s all I’ve been able to think about for the last 18 months and I’m getting closer all the time now.
“I travelled down to Chelsea with the squad and that was all part of becoming back part of things once again. It was nice to go down there the day before and be involved in the team meetings once again and if I was called up to play or be on the bench this weekend, I am ready.
“I don’t know what the plan is, though. I’ve got to make sure I recover from last night’s game, see how my legs feel, and then take it from there.
“It’s up to the manager to decide. But if he wants to include me on the bench, I will be delighted. There would be no-one happier than me to come back, get involved and be back amongst the goals again.
“I’ll do everything I can, but of course it will take a little bit of time for me to get my sharpness back.”