Defensive and midfield additions still high on Sunderland boss Jack Ross's wishlist
Jack Ross is pressing ahead with efforts to strengthen his Sunderland squad and, as well at least one other striker, he is keen to add a central defender and a central midfielder.
A move for George Evans collapsed after the Reading midfielder stalled on the switch, despite agreeing personal terms.
That was a setback for Ross, who believes he needs a different option in midfield to ensure his team can compete with the physical challenges League One presents.
The Black Cats are exploring moves for other midfielders in the Football League, with height and power likely to be key attributes.
Ross hopes that midfielder Ethan Robson will soon return to fitness to play a key part this season, but, speaking after the 6-0 win over St Mirren last weekend, he admitted that he is short on options int hat department without a new signing.
He said: “I don’t know whether Middlesbrough (in tonight’s final pre-season friendly) will come too quickly for him but he shouldn’t be too much longer. He’s been good in pre-season, I like him and he’s responded really well.
“It’ll be good to have him back because other than the three midfielders that played today, we don’t have a lot.
“We need that depth and him coming back will provide us with that.”
Sunderland remain keen on Bradford City striker Charlie Wyke, but their League One rivals are thought to be reluctant to sell until they find a replacement.
Bolton Wanderers, Sunderland’s biggest competition for Wyke, have admitted that they are are ‘widening’ their search for additions up front.
Chairman Ken Anderson said: “We are still actively looking to recruit several new additions to the squad before then and, as ever, we shall let you know immediately once the deals have been done and the paperwork completed.
“There has been speculation within the media and social media about our pursuit for strikers, and I can confirm that we have made six-figure bids for two different players.
“At this stage, we will not be making any further offers on these players and we shall consequently widen our search.”
Wyke is currently injured and will miss the start of the new season.
However, his injury is not serious enough to have deterred Bolton or Sunderland in their pursuit.
Sunderland boss Ross is desperate to add at least one more striker to his ranks, despite completing a season-long loan for Watford’s Jerome Sinclair in midweek.
The Black Cats retain an interest in Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp, but he is. at this stage. not expected to leave Bramall Lane.
Ross’s seventh and eighth summer signings are set to make their debuts this evening.
Defender Glenn Loovens and Sinclair both took part in full training yesterday and should play a part in Sunderland’s final pre-season friendly, with the Black Cats to be backed by a sold-out away following for the meeting with Championship side Boro.
The Black Cats have sold all of their 1,000-strong ticket allocation for the game at the Riverside (KO 7.30pm).
A Sunderland statement warned: “Supporters without tickets are advised that there will be NO sales on the day of the game.”