O'Neill boost as Graham asks to leave Swansea despite travelling with squad to Sunderland
11:56 GMT, 28 January 2013
18:09 GMT, 28 January 2013
Danny Graham has edged closer to a switch to Sunderland after telling Swansea he wants to quit the south Wales club for personal reasons.
Black Cats boss Martin O’Neill has been pursuing the striker for much of January, and is now likely to land his chief target before Thursday's deadline.
The former Chester Town FC striker has been included in Michael Laudrup’s squad travelling to Wearside for Tuesday's televised Barclays Premier League clash.
Heading east The out-of-favour Graham is wanted by Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill
And although the Newcastle United
supporter and ex-Middlesbrough forward has not been a regular in the
Capital One Cup finalists’ starting line-up, he has featured on the
bench for most of the season.
O’Neill refused to be drawn on specific targets for the last four days of the winter transfer window, although he has denied any attempt to sign former Wigan midfielder Paul Scharner who has been linked with a loan move from his current side Hamburg.
But the Sunderland manager, who has so far added midfielder Alfred N’Diaye and Senegal defender Kader Mangane, says he is hopeful of adding a striker before Thursday’s 11pm deadline after he reluctantly allowed England striker Fraizer Campbell to join Cardiff City in a 600,000 deal.
Sunderland launched a 5million bid for Graham two weeks ago, and still face competition from Norwich City and Queens Park Rangers for the Gateshead-born striker.
Gone but not incoming: Campbell has already left for Cardiff but Sunderland deny any interest in Paul Scharner
O’Neill said: `We have a couple of day to add someone if we can. After February 1 that is it so we will see what we can do.
`We are linked with quite a few players and we will try and get someone in if we can. We are going to try and do something about it.
`I would like to try and improve it if we can but that is not always that easy. If we are left with this [squad] then we have to try and manage it as best we can but I am still hoping we can do something.’
Efficient: Graham has continued to score despite his limited opportunities
Former Manchester United striker Campbell, who came back from two serious knee injuries during his time at Sunderland, failed to establish himself under O’ Neill in the last year.
He did score a crucial equaliser against Middlesbrough in last season’s FA Cup but was restricted to bench duties after the addition of Scotland striker Steven Fletcher in the summer.
O’Neill has now let veterans Louis Saha and James McFadden leave the club while South Korea international Ji Dong-won has joined FC Augsburg and youngster Ryan Noble is poised to join SPL club Hearts.
Departed: Injury-hit veterans Louis Saha and James McFadden have both been allowed to leave Sunderland
O’Neill added: There was always interest in Frazier. We said we would prefer him not to go until we got someone in and it was then Matthew Kilgallon tweets that he is going to Cardiff.
`So I allowed him to go. I felt this was a big opportunity for Frazier, he didn’ t want to disappear and so I allowed him to go but I am hoping something will develop for us.’
Defenders Carlos Cuellar and Danny Rose, who both have hamstring strains, will have fitness tests before the Swansea clash along with captain Lee Cattermole. All three are rated doubtful for the game.