Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

O'Neill waits on striker bids

Martin O'Neill, left, and Michael Laudrup saw their sides share the spoils

Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill is awaiting the outcome of his club's bids for strikers as the winter transfer deadline fast approaches.

O'Neill revealed after the 0-0 Barclays Premier League draw with Swansea, in which prime target Danny Graham might have snatched victory for the visitors at the death, that the Black Cats had made "a couple" of offers and were hoping for a breakthrough before Thursday's deadline.

He said: "We have made bids for a couple of players, but we didn't make them overnight, we made them some time ago. Of course, it's absolutely the prerogative of the team to whom we have put these bids in either to accept or not accept as the case may be."

He added: "We wouldn't be the only club in that sort of position, this idea that we are waiting until January 31. There may be a host of signings in the next 48 hours, I don't know, but there's every possibility because that seems to have been the way of it in the last number of years."

Sunderland's interest in 27-year-old Graham has been well publicised despite O'Neill's refusal to acknowledge it publicly, but his appearance as a second-half substitute was booed by sections of the home crowd, a reflection of his Geordie roots and his comments about their club in a fanzine interview.

But O'Neill said with a smile: "I think he is himself reportedly a Newcastle fan, so I think the reaction to that was probably quite a natural reaction. But Bob Stokoe was looking down at him."

Swansea boss Michael Laudrup was the happier manager having seen his side put their Capital One Cup heroics to one side to turn in an away performance which could and perhaps should have brought more.

He said: "In Swansea, everybody since then has been talking only about the Chelsea game and the final on February 24. Absolutely no-one has spoken one word about Sunderland and the league game, so it was very important for me to see the reaction from the squad, and that's why I am really pleased."

Laudrup insisted he had no qualms about naming Graham in his 18, but admitted he does not know what will happen with him over the next 48 hours, and he said: "There are still two days to go and at this stage, it's much better to wait until February 1.

"After that, it's easier for everybody to answer the questions than to start to guess what will happen in the next 49, 50 hours."

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