Sam Allardyce has challenged his Sunderland players to show that he doesn’t have to break the bank in the January transfer window.
Sunderland have been active in watching potential January targets over recent weeks, with boss Allardyce travelling to France last Saturday to see Lorient’s clash against Paris St-Germain.
The Black Cats are also understood to have been scouting QPR striker Charlie Austin, who has been the subject of persistent speculation linking him with a move to the Stadium of Light.
Austin declared last month that he wants to stay at QPR until the end of the season when his contract expires, yet there have been mixed messages over whether the Championship outfit will look to cash-in on the 28-year-old in January.
Allardyce is keen to add fresh blood to the squad if possible, although he realises the difficulties of bringing in new recruits to a relegation-threatened side, who would genuinely improve his options.
But he says if those already in Sunderland’s ranks can impress in the next month, then it eases the pressure to make a host of January signings.
Allardyce told the Gazette: “I think spotting a player is something that we have to try to do.
“But there’s still a squad here that can prove an awful lot to me, and show that I need very little in January.
“They’ve got a difficult task ahead of them with the fixtures we’ve got before Christmas - starting with Stoke.
“If January pops up someone with the quality and ability to make us better, then I think a squad of players accept that player coming in. They look forward to playing with him.
“But if it’s the reverse, then it brings in negativity.
“That’s the hardest part of the job.
“I hope by January, the players have made my life easier by not having to be too active in the January window.”
Meanwhile, reports in France have linked Sunderland with a move for Auxerre forward Nils Bouekou.
The 20-year-old is yet to make a first-team appearance for Auxerre, but with his contract expiring next summer, Sunderland and Spurs are reportedly keeping tabs on the youngster.