'We need': Tony Mowbray's Sunderland transfer message after another injury setback
Tony Mowbray has said that his Sunderland squad 'need help' in the closing stages of the transfer window.
The Black Cats have been rocked this week by major injuries to both Corry Evans and Ross Stewart, two of Mowbray's most experienced and consistent players.
Mowbray's side impressed in the 1-1 draw with Fulham on Saturday, particularly as the XI that finished the game had an average age of under 22.
Mowbray left his press conference to immediately discuss the club's options with head of recruitment Stuart Harvey, with at least one forward and potentially a holding midfielder now high on the agenda.
"I'm about to go and speak to Stuart after this press conference," Mowbray said.
"As you know, I'm a head coach not a manager and so I don't know the finances etc. What I know is that we need some support, the young team does. Hopefully there's some business to do in the next few days, though I'd add as well that it's fantastic that young Joe Gelhardt has come in, and Pierre Ekwah looked a real talent when he came on at the end there.
"I just feel like we need some bodies because you can see that our bench at the end there, we had a 15-year-old on the pitch and the three lads who didn't get on aren't that much older.
"We are really short on numbers and we've picked up injuries, with eighteen league games to go we need a bit of help."
Sunderland had pushed ahead with the signing of Gelhardt on loan from Leeds United having accepted that the chances of Ellis Simms returning to the club were increasingly slim as a result of the ongoing uncertainty at Goodison Park.
Everton are set to announce Sean Dyche as their new manager over the weekend and are still searching for reinforcements of their own before the transfer window closes on Tuesday night.
What Mowbray did make clear is that if he is made available, Sunderland will be very willing to do the deal.
"I honestly don't know, I'm the coach of the team and there are people around me who do that," Mowbray said.
"If Ellis Simms came back he would be huge for this football club, because he'll give us a focal point at the top end of the pitch. He scored some massively important goals for us before he was called.
"I'm assuming Sean is now in with his feet under the table, and whether they make a quick decision on that, I don't know. Whether they sign another striker and Ellis can come back, I don't know. It would be pretty appropriate for our team, to be able to give us that focal point and score some goals."
Mowbray also confirmed that Bailey Wright was absent from the squad due to a calf injury.
Wright has interest from other clubs and Mowbray has said that he won't stand in his way if he wants more regular football, but that was not a factor in his absence at Craven Cottage.
Mowbray said: "Bailey has got a calf strain and had to pull out of training yesterday, which is why he wasn't with us."