Sunderland manager Chris Coleman trusts new arrivals to make impact against Ipswich
The Sunderland boss completed deals for Ashley Fletcher, Ovie Ejaria and Lee Camp on the final day of the winter window as he looks to add competition for places right across his struggling squad.
All three, like Jake Clarke-Salter and Kazenga LuaLua before them, have struggled for regular senior football over the first half of the season.
But Coleman believes they are in good shape to make a difference.
Ahead of tomorrow’s Championship visit of Ipswich, Coleman said: “I think, the stage we are in the season, there’s enough points on offer and enough games left for us to be OK if we get these boys up to it.
“Kaz was fighting for fitness and that appearance at Birmingham will do him the world of good.
“Ashley Fletcher played 50-odd minutes last weekend (for Boro), so he’s OK physically. Ovie played 90 minutes at the weekend, U23s football albeit, but 90 minutes all the same.
“Lee Camp has had five lots of 90 minutes recently.
“That is U23 games as well, but still it is football and keepers are slightly different anyway.
“They’re all ready to play a big part at the weekend.”
Coleman says he also has no problems with the difficult decisions he has ahead with regards to the nature of his matchday squads.
EFL rules stipulate that a team can name only five loanees in a squad at any one time.
The Black Cats now have seven on their books after the permanent deal for Leeds keeper Andy Lonergan fell through. Cardiff boss Neil Warnock was happy to let Lee Camp join Sunderland on loan to find regular football but would not consider a deal over and above that.
An injury to defender Clarke-Salter, who is facing a race to recover in time from a hamstring injury, could mean it is not an issue this weekend, but, at some point, Coleman admits he will have to leave players ‘disappointed’.
He is focusing on the positive of having many more options to pick from, however. Coleman said: “A deal didn’t work for Andy.
“He’s a good guy, but we just couldn’t get it done.
“That would have been a permanent [deal], but, speaking with Neil [Warnock], Camp was always going to be a loan deal.
“Lee will add to us with his experience, but, of course, we now have seven loanees in the building and we can only pick five at once.
“Someone will be disappointed of course.
“Brendan [Galloway] hasn’t been involved much and Jonny Williams is just coming back from injury. I’d rather this situation than be struggling for numbers.
“Football being as it is, and this league being as it is anyway, there’s always going injuries and the like. But absolutely, I would rather have those numbers than not.”