Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting DURHAM TIMES to 80360 or email us
O'Neill on look out but may sell more
MARTIN O’NEILL is prepared to listen to offers for more of Sunderland’s first team squad if he thinks a move will benefit all parties.
A third pre-season friendly defeat from four matches at Helsingborgs on Saturday left the Sunderland boss reflecting that there is plenty of “room for improvement” from his squad.
But while he is intent on strengthening his pool of players, the Northern Irishman also thinks more could leave before the end of the month.
Michael Turner’s move to Norwich City ten days ago highlighted the manager’s willingness to allow players to leave if he thinks the team can cope.
And O’Neill has admitted Turner was not the only member of the Sunderland party to be told they could be presented with an option to leave if a suitable bid comes in.
“I said to some of the players here, if an opportunity arises, I will look at it,” said O’Neill, who remains keen to strike a deal for £15m-rated Steven Fletcher. “Norwich were prepared to give him at least a three-year deal, I thought 'fine'.
“I can't guarantee first-team football, so fair play to him. If it hadn't materialised, I’d have been pretty pleased, he was still in my plans”
Two goals in as many minutes from substitutes Alfred Finnbogason and May Mahlangu were enough to inflict the latest 2-0 defeat on Sunderland at Helsingborgs.
But while conceding again was a concern, the biggest problem remains scoring goals. The trip to Sweden illustrated once more that there is a real shortage up front before the Premier League starts in less than two weeks.
That is why O'Neill will spend the next few days trying to come up with a solution and his first consideration will be to up Sunderland's £11m offer for Wolves' Fletcher.
SUNDERLAND v Helsingborg: Westwood (Mignolet 46), O’Shea (Laing 69), Bramble, Cuellar, Richardson (Knott 69), Larsson (Kilgallon 46), Cattermole (Reed 79), Colback (Wickham 46), McClean (Lynch 79), Gardner, Campbell (Noble 69).