Sunderland boss reveals Ellis Simms reaction to Everton recall

Tony Mowbray says Sunderland are working hard to strengthen their striking department and has hinted that there could potentially be two breakthroughs on the horizon.

Mowbray admitted that Everton's decision to recall Ellis Simms earlier this week had come 'out of the blue', to the point that his boots had to be retrieved from the Carrington training base Sunderland have been using this week so he could return late on Thursday night.

The Sunderland head coach said he nevertheless had no issue with the decision, and added that he was 'delighted' Simms had caught the eye of his parent club during his loan spell. Simms scored seven goals across his seventeen appearances for the club.

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The Black Cats will now look at securing a replacement and the head coach has hinted that progress has been made in establishing some potential targets who could be available.

Sunderland striker Ellis Simms

"It's frustrating for us all, I spoke to Ellis in the hotel before he left and I think he was a bit frustrated as well but he's their player," Mowbray said.

"It's good that he is catching the eye of his manager and Everton's supporters to think that he can come and help them in their battle. Everton is an amazing football club and Ellis is a young guy on a journey. He was great for us and really took the mantle on when Ross wasn't available. We're disappointed but delighted for him.

"Thankfully January is here and we have the opportunity to replace him as soon as possible.

"I think Ellis' departure has accelerated some of the discussions that are being had. I can't stand here and say that something is going to happen this week but discussions are ongoing.

"It might be another loan but there also some other discussions around a young striker on a permanent basis. The club are working hard and it's good that the team are competing at the right end of the table - it gives us a chance to invest when the team are doing rather than scrambling.

"And once the injuries come back the competition is really strong. I don't stand here thinking we need four or five bodies, we just need to add quality and then if anyone goes out replace them."

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Simms could in theory return to Sunderland later in the month were Frank Lampard's side to strengthen their forward line in the market, but Mowbray says that the club can't afford to wait and leave themselves exposed.

"I don't think we can wait," he said.

"What happens will depend on who gets fit for them, how he does in training etc. but I don't think we can wait and hope he comes back.

"If we could do a deal tomorrow we will do a deal tomorrow, I would suggest. We're working hard."

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Sunderland have a fortnight's break from Championship action, facing Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup next weekend before Swansea City visit the Stadium of Light later in the month.

The Black Cats sit sixth in the table after today’s draw at Blackpool.