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Dec 21, 2012

O'Neill eyes January reinforcements

Martin O'Neill has said he is optimistic that he can bring in players who will make a difference to Sunderland during the January transfer window.

The Black Cats are just one point above the relegation zone, having won three of their first 17 league games, and travel to fellow strugglers Southampton on Saturday.

Their difficult season so far has prompted O'Neill to begin planning his transfer strategy for the New Year - a time in which he has made key signings at previous clubs.

"People have always said that, because it's January, it's kind of a seller's market - that if you bought somebody, you might pay too much. But I'm not so sure that that's necessarily true," O'Neill told the Sunderland Echo.

"I think that if you think there's somebody there who can improve your side, somebody you feel is going to be a decent player for the football club, then you might have to pay some extra for him. My own experience of that was Ashley Young.

"At the time that we [Villa] bought him, I felt that, if we waited until the summertime, there might be more teams coming in for him. So we bit the bullet and took him on. That was January, and he was a great signing.

"I think that, first of all, you have to try as best you can to have people in mind. Those things might not come to fruition, but I do believe you should have people in mind that you think can come in and help."

Sunderland have already invited two young players for trials on Wearside.

Winger Josh Janniere began his career in the youth academy of Toronto FC under the guidance of former Sunderland striker Danny Dichio before moving to Colorado Rapids in 2011. The 20-year-old failed to make a senior appearance for the Rapids and was released in May.

Meanwhile Albert Bruce, 18, a defensive midfielder currently playing with Ghanian side Asante Kotoko - a club with whom the Black Cats struck a player partnership deal in July 2011 - will be at the Stadium of Light for two weeks.

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