Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Black Cats' Striker Search Can Wait; Hunt for Defenders a Priority for Cats

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Black Cats' Striker Search Can Wait; Hunt for Defenders a Priority for Cats

Article excerpt

SUNDERLAND will put their search for a fourth striker on the backburner to concentrate on other targets in the build-up to their first pre-season friendly, writes STUART RAYNER.

The Black Cats were yesterday linked with Pavel Pogrebnyak (pictured left), and while they enquired about the Russian at the start of the summer, it is not an option they have yet returned to.

Having landed two of the three strikers manager Steve Bruce targeted in the transfer window - in Connor Wickham and Ji Dong-Won - the focus is on the other end of the field.

Sunderland are yet to add to their pool of defenders, diminished when John Mensah and Nedum Onuoha's loans ended without permanent deals.

Mensah will definitely not be back, his attitude and form having compounded the injury record which was such a feature of the first of his two seasonlong loans.

Onuoha is unlikely to return either, with Blackburn Rovers reportedly prepared to pay a bigger fee for the Manchester City player.

Of the defenders on his books, Bruce would like to move on George McCartney, Nyron Nosworthy and Matt Kilgallon, and has reservations about Anton Ferdinand. Manchester United's John O'Shea and Wes Brown remain his top defensive targets, and a combined pounds 12m fee has been accepted for the pair plus midfielder Darron Gibson. But Stoke are reportedly ready to throw a spanner in the works with a rival offer. Birmingham City centre-back Scott Dann is another potential target. Bruce made no secret of the fact he would scour the Premier League's relegated clubs for cut-price players this summer, and the criminal investigations into Blues owner Carson Yeung only increase the potential for a bargain from the squad which provided him with Craig Gardner and Sebastian Larsson. It is, though, likely to string out the process. …

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