O’Neill won’t allow Sunderland players out

PROTECTING CATS: Sunderland's manager Martin O'Neill
PROTECTING CATS: Sunderland's manager Martin O'Neill

MARTIN O’Neill says he slammed the door shut on potential loan moves for his players this week because of Sunderland’s busy fixture schedule.

The deadline for emergency loans ended on Thursday and plenty of interest was shown in Sunderland’s squad in the days running up to the deadline.

But the Black Cats boss explained that with nine Premier League games coming up in the next five weeks he simply couldn’t take the risk of potentially leaving the club short.

“We could have let more players go out, of course we could,” O’Neill said.

“The thing is that we’ve got all these games coming up in December and we just couldn’t afford to do it.

“We don’t have the wherewithal.

“At the moment, David Meyler is out on loan and he’s enjoying it and doing very well.

“And I would let more players go out on loan if you could stagger them, but we can’t do that at this moment.

“And with all the games over Christmas, it is an impossibility.”

Three Sunderland players are currently out on loan – David Meyler (Hull City), Ryan Noble (Hartlepool United) and Blair Adams (Coventry City) – all benefiting from regular first team involvement in the Football League.

And over the last few months there has been plenty of interest from a number of Championship sides in Sunderland players, with Sheffield Wednesday leading a host of clubs keen to take £8m striker Connor Wickham on loan, Huddersfield Town wanting striker Fraizer Campbell and Leeds United looking at centre-half Matt Kilgallon.

Ipswich Town would gladly have taken old boys Wickham or Titus Bramble back and there was interest too from several clubs in England Under 19 keeper Jordan Pickford.

But Sunderland rejected all approaches and the closure of the loan window this week means Sunderland’s squad is set in stone for the remainder of 2012.

SEE Saturday’s Mail for full story