Sunderland, Everton and Villa to lead January chases for strike duo

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Improving their strike options will be essential for Sunderland, Everton and Aston Villa in the January transfer window and they are likely to head the race to sign both Bobby Zamora and Kenwyne Jones.

New Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill is likely to have demanded a sizeable transfer kitty to spend in the January transfer window and a proven striker will surely be top of his shopping list.

With Asamoah Gyan expected to decline a return to the Stadium of Light from his loan deal in the UAE, Sunderland are desperately short of firepower to rival Nicklas Bendtner and are having to employ tricky winger Stephane Sessegnon in an advanced role to fill the void.

Typically, Everton are struggling to keep Louis Saha fit and it is teenage Greek striker Apostolos Vellios that currently tops their Premier League scoring exploits with just three goals through the opening 15 games.

Meanwhile, there is the belief around Aston Villa that Darren Bent could leave in January and if this happens some of the money will almost certainly need to be used to purchase some kind of replacement.

Zamora’s future at Fulham seems especially bleak given that he has struggling to build a relationship with manager Martin Jol since his appointment in the summer.

Jol dropped the striker from the matchday squad for the weekend win over Bolton and he has since also been sent to train with the reserves.

With Zamora still angling for a spot in the England squad for Euro 2012, he will be desperate to play regularly in order to bolster his chances.

Jones may not be so keen to move, but has struggled for starting opportunities at Stoke since the arrival of Peter Crouch and a transfer may be best for his career.

Without a new striker, the three clubs could all find themselves caught up in a relegation dogfight, with Sunderland currently 9/2, Aston Villa 10/1 and Everton 25/1 in the Premier League odds to face the drop.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.