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Sunderland want to retain on-loan left-back Danny Rose

SUNDERLAND will attempt to broker a permanent deal for Danny Rose in the January transfer window after being impressed by the England under-21 international's "remarkable" form.

Danny Rose

SUNDERLAND will attempt to broker a permanent deal for Danny Rose in the January transfer window after being impressed by the England under-21 international's "remarkable" form.

The Black Cats slid into the bottom three over the weekend with a defeat that owed much to individual defensive errors at critical points in the match. A penalty just before half-time, converted by Fernando Torres, and a crucial strike by Juan Mata early in the second period left Sunderland with a mountain to climb and undermined some real signs of life from Martin O’Neill’s men.

They now face a make-or-break clash with Reading tomorrow night but there is better news for Sunderland supporters in that they are now looking to convert Rose’s loan into a permanent deal.

The defender has been outstanding so far for the Black Cats and when he moved into midfield on Saturday he was just as good, despite the all-star composition of the Chelsea midfield.

O’Neill says the permanent transfer of the Leeds-born defender is on the agenda, and believes their ability to land him will be aided by the fact he wants to join the Wearsiders. The star is a definite crowd favourite.

“He’s really been excellent for us and he’s improving as well,” O’Neill said. “There is that possibility. He wants to remain at the football club and that is encouraging and if he went back to Tottenham, particularly with Ekotto getting fit again, the chances are he wouldn’t play that often, so it’s certainly worth a look at anyway.

“He would love to stay here. He’s got on terrifically well with

everyone. The players have taken to him, everybody has taken to him. Most importantly, the crowd have taken to him and rightly so because he has been absolutely outstanding. I always felt he had that potential, but he’s playing remarkably well.”

Strangely considering the team’s defeat, Saturday felt slightly better for Sunderland. Adam Johnson’s best performance yet in a Sunderland shirt was a big positive, as was his goal in the second half.

“I felt there were signs out there that Adam is coming back to his best. He was having a go at players, taking on Ashley Cole at times and that goal will give him a boost as well and that is important,” he said.

“There were clear signs that he’s coming back to the form we all know he’s capable of, but he must maintain that.”

The improvement in Johnson’s game coincided with a performance that possessed much more threat, even if the defensive mistakes that cost Sunderland goals were a bone of contention for O’Neill.

“We’ve really got at Chelsea today and we did cause them problems. Naturally, with the attacking threat they possess they were going to cause us problems, too, but the goals either side of half-time were avoidable,” he said.

“Even with that, we still fought back, Gardner hit the bar at the end and we’ve put balls into the six-yard box which maybe needed a touch.”

Steven Fletcher (pictured below) missed Saturday’s game and may have to sit out the clash with Reading too.

“He had a fitness test on the pitch before the game but didn’t feel comfortable,” O’Neill said.

“He hadn’t done anything since Sunday and he felt he had to do this. Although on Friday night he was still feeling pretty uncomfortable. I don’t know how Tuesday night will go at the moment.”

RAFAEL Benitez will use Chelsea’s trip to the Club World Cup to hone the way he wants them to play.

The Spaniard recorded the first Barclays Premier League victory of his interim reign at the Stadium of Light on Saturday – following up their 6-1 Champions League demolition of Nordsjaelland.

Benitez said: “The team still can improve, so it’s a question of time.

“We will have more time, maybe, in Japan. We can talk, we can analyse more things and little by little.”


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