SUNDERLAND manager Martin O’Neill is exploring the option of adding a third new forward to his squad with James McFadden training at the club this week.

Scotland international Mc- Fadden is a free agent after leaving Everton at the last season when his contract expired and he has failed to secure a new club.

O’Neill has already brought in Louis Saha and Steven Fletcher during the summer, but the Black Cats boss has not ruled out bringing in further options.

Loading article content

Young strikers Connor Wickham, Ryan Noble and Ji Dong-Won could also leave on loan and if that happens O’Neill will want to make sure he has plenty of options.

McFadden is understood to have arrived at the club’s training ground on Monday and has trained with the first team since.

O’Neill is expected to shed more light on a potential move this morning at his prematch press conference ahead of Saturday’s trip to West Ham United.

McFadden began his career at Motherwell before moving to Everton for £1.25m in 2003.

He made 139 appearances – almost half of which came from the subs’ bench – and scored 18 goals in all competitions in five years with the Mersersiders, before moving to Birmingham in a £4.75m deal in January 2008.

He suffered cruciate ligament damage in August 2010 while at St Andrew’s which kept him out for a year, and he left the club at the end of his contract in 2011.

Wolves and Celtic showed interest in him, but instead he re-signed for Everton in October last year on a deal that ran until the end of June 2012.

But he made only eight appearances in his second spell at Goodison.

Should McFadden be handed a contract at the Stadium of Light, it will almost certainly see at least one of Wickham, Noble or Dong-Won exit on loan.

All three have featured for the first team, but towards the end of last season their opportunities were limited and that seems to be the case again this season after the arrival of Saha and Fletcher.

Wickham has been linked with a return to the Championship with either Burnley or Birmingham City, while Hartlepool United have shown an interest in taking Noble back to Victoria Park after a spell there last season.