| 10.6°C Dublin

Bruce ready to wait for Bent replacement

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce is hoping for a transfer breakthrough ahead of Saturday's Premier League trip to Blackpool.

However, the Black Cats are prepared to wait until the summer to land a long-term replacement for striker Darren Bent.

Bent left a huge hole in Bruce's squad when he completed his £24million switch to Aston Villa on Tuesday, and Bruce and chairman Niall Quinn know that gap will take some plugging.

However, they are equally aware that the January market often does not yield the best value for money, and are unlikely to spend heavily in haste.

Villa's John Carew is among a series of British-based targets -- Cardiff's Jay Bothroyd and Stoke's Ricardo Fuller are understood to be two of the others -- the Black Cats believe could add important depth to their squad.

However, they are also looking further afield as they assess their options for a long-term partner for record signing Asamoah Gyan -- currently the club's only fit senior striker.

They have been linked with Monaco's Congolese striker Dieumerci Mbokani, but are looking at a range of alternatives after shifting their focus in the wake of Bent's shock defection to the Midlands side.


The foreign market is a more attractive prospect for a loan move because Sunderland have filled their quota of two temporary domestic signings, with Nedum Onuoha and Danny Welbeck on season-long deals at the Stadium of Light.

Reflecting on Bent's move to Villa, chairman Quinn revealed he had suspicions over the striker's state of mind up to three weeks ago.

Quinn said: "Two or three weeks ago maybe, I went into the training ground and there was something up with him.

"I looked at his demeanour and I thought, 'It's not right'. Having been in the game, you kind of know when someone's got something going on in their heads.

"It transpired that that's what had happened. They were setting him up to try and come and he took the bait."

Villa responded with a statement firmly denying they made an "inappropriate approach", stressing Bent was unaware of the possibility of a move until after the 1-1 north-east derby against Newcastle last Sunday.