Monday 19 March 2018

David Moyes braced for "difficult" January window with Sunderland

David Moyes worries players won't want to join Sunderland this month
David Moyes worries players won't want to join Sunderland this month

David Moyes fears Sunderland's current predicament means it will be difficult to sign players as he prepares for transfer discussions with owner Ellis Short.

For the second straight season the Black Cats have opened a new calendar year languishing in the bottom three after Burnley dispatched them 4-1 at Turf Moor on New Year's Eve.

Last January, when then-manager Sam Allardyce signed Lamine Kone, Wahbi Khazri and Jan Kirchhoff, the winter-window business inspired an upturn in form to ensure safety, yet the club have recently warned Moyes he has limited funds to use this time around.

The extent of his kitty may become clearer after imminent conversations with Short, although Moyes is concerned that the possibility of relegation could deter potential signings from joining Sunderland's cause.

"Ellis will speak with me and I'll speak with Ellis, I've got no doubt," Moyes said.

"We'll see what we can do. It's difficult. It will even be difficult to attract the players. We need to say, 'We need you'."

Should he leave those discussions with positive news, Moyes may consider moving for a goalkeeper after Vito Mannone had an afternoon to forget against Burnley.

He failed to stop Andre Gray's first goal, which was hit virtually straight at him, and was then rounded by the same player having rushed out to the edge of his box early in the second half.

With Jordan Pickford out for up to eight weeks, Mannone's performance might have given Moyes food for thought.

"I just think there were chances for things to be saved and hopefully he would admit that as well," he added.

"The second as well, he didn't need to come and get involved. But there was more involved in the goals than just the goalkeeper."

On three of the four occasions Mannone was beaten, the scorer was Gray as he bagged his club's first ever hat-trick in the Premier League, taking his tally to four in six days after netting the winner against Middlesbrough.

The 25-year-old's only other top-flight goal came in August before Gray was handed a four-game ban by the Football Association for historical homophobic tweets that saw him miss six weeks of the season.

Former non-league striker Gray admits sitting on the sidelines disrupted him but believes his four-goal haul against the north-east clubs shows he is back to peak form.

"It was six weeks and that's a pre-season," he stressed.

"It was obviously a difficult time just not playing and trying to stay fit. The boys were flying as well as I came back so to get back in the team was difficult. I had to keep my head down, keep working hard and hope my chance would come.

"You can do all the running you want throughout that time but it doesn't compete with match-sharpness. It was hard to get back up to speed. I feel like I'm back at it now and hopefully we'll kick on."

Press Association

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