Back to back demotions had thrown Sunderland into the third tier of English football, but they are rebuilding from scratch and eyeing a revival under new boss Jack Ross. The Scotsman is aiming for automatic promotion but must be concerned by the departure of their striking sensation Josh Maja, the young Englishman who completed a high-profile switch to Bordeaux only a few days back.
Moreover, the Black Cats are finding it hard to acquire the popular Wigan Athletic hitman Will Grigg to replace their 15-goal striker. But Paul Cook, the Latics chief, is determined to keep hold of the Northern Irishman and has already rejected four separate bids for the 27-year-old.
Although the Championship side are bracing themselves for a fifth bid, Sunderland are keeping their options open and have shifted their focus on two English League One strikers – Tom Eaves of Gillingham along with John Marquis of Doncaster Rovers. This has been confirmed by Keith Downie of Sky Sports via his official Twitter handle.
Sunderland are looking into possible deals for free-scoring League One strikers Tom Eaves (Gillingham) & John Marquis (Doncaster). They may turn to either – or both – with their attempts to sign Wigan striker Will Grigg proving difficult #SAFC
— Keith Downie (@SkySports_Keith) January 29, 2019
Eaves, 27, completed a Bosman switch to Gillingham upon being released by Yeovil Town but proved to be an instant hit scoring 17 league goals in his debut campaign. He has already found the net 14 times this term and exhibited his goal-poaching attribute despite the Gills struggling at the wrong end of the League One standing.
Marquis, who used to work as a part-time model, failed to succeed at Millwall, his boyhood side but earned massive attention scoring 26 times in his very first season with the Rovers. The 26-year-old led them to promotion to the third tier and continued his excellence in front of goal finding the net 14 times the previous term. The player, however, has already bettered his stats having notched up 16 goals so far in 28 league games and has kept Doncaster in the contention for securing a place in the League One playoffs.
Marquis, meanwhile, is under contract until 2020 and might not be allowed to leave considering his impact on the Red and Whites. But a deal for Eaves should not be viewed as complicated due to his current contract situation.
Yet the Black Cats must push for both the names to have enough depth high up the pitch and exploit their English League One experience at the Stadium of Light.
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