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Former Everton man to seal Sunderland switch after impressing on trial

| 03.10.2012

James McFadden is on the verge of completing a free transfer to Sunderland after convincing Martin O’Neill he can still cut it in the Premier League.

The Black Cats are 9/1 to win at Man City in their next game and have had the former Scotland international on trial with them for the past few weeks; he now looks set to sign a short-term deal on Wearside.

The forward, who has made 198 league appearances in English football for Birmingham and Everton, offers an extra option in the final third with injury-prone Louis Saha the only proven back up for Steven Fletcher.

McFadden, however, is not as prolific as either – scoring just 24 league goals during his tenures with the aforementioned clubs – but his versatility could prove useful should first-choice wingers Adam Johnson and James McClean fall foul of any ailments.

This acquisition highlights the little faith O’Neill has in Sunderland’s big money signing of the 2011/12 pre-season, Connor Wickham.

The England under-21 international looks set to be loaned out to accommodate the arrival of a man who has scarcely kicked a ball in the past two seasons, not trusted to fill in for their preferred striking duo of Fletcher and Saha.

His arrival is likely to be until the end of the season and, therefore, does not spell the end of Wickham’s Sunderland career, but unless he comes back from a short-term stint in the Championship as some rampant goal-machine, he’s always going to be facing a battle to break into the first-team at the Stadium of Light.

His exclusion echoes sentiments voiced by many of the Aston Villa fringe players who were frozen out during the Northern Irishman’s spell in charge of the Midlands club, claiming he never granted them a fair crack of the whip for unexplained reasons.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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Author

James Middleton