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O'Neill on look out for someone to 'lead the line'
SUNDERLAND head out to the Far East later today and when they return Martin O'Neill will make signing a target-man his priority.
Following the departure of Nicklas Bendtner, who has returned to Arsenal after his season long loan, there is a need to add a different option in the final third.
Wolverhampton Wanderers' striker Steven Fletcher is the primary target to fill the vacancy and Sunderland have been in touch about the player's availability.
The two clubs are quite apart on a fee for the Scotland international but it has been suggested Wolves could be willing to lower their £15m asking price to £10m.
Whether that will be enough to convince Sunderland to match the valuation remains to be seen, but O'Neill is adamant he wants to bring in a new striker with an aerial presence.
O'Neill said: “It would be churlish of me to start commenting on individual players - but there are players out there that I feel you should try and get if you could.
“The very obvious point is that we need someone to lead the line, because Bendtner is gone now.”
Sunderland are scheduled to play two matches in the Peace Cup next weekend, starting Friday, and are travelling to South Korea today.
Neither Phil Bardsley nor Matt Kilgallon, however, will be making the trip after struggling with knocks they have sustained in the first few days of pre-season training.
O'Neill is hoping to instil greater hunger in his squad next season after enjoying a promising start to life at the Stadium of Light.
Despite a disappointing end to the season which seen them drop out of the top ten, Sunderland were still transformed under O'Neill.
They climbed away from relegation trouble after O'Neill's appointment in December, while reaching the FA Cup quarter-finals before losing to Everton in a replay.
The Sunderland boss said: “That Everton game is the type of night that you want to experience more often.
“There was a sense of something happening. The crowd turned up that evening and I thought there was a great atmosphere - unfortunately we were unable to rise to the occasion.
We were unable to give even 15 minutes concerted pressure, something we had done in the previous months. That particular evening - whatever it was - we were unable to do it. You could sense that the crowd were, far from moaning, were trying to encourage the whole way through.”