SUNDERLAND are hoping to persuade Wolves to agree to a loan deal for midfielder Ben Marshall, but the Molineux club’s growing interest in Chris Martin could yet scupper the Black Cats’ chances of taking the striker to the Stadium of Light.

Chris Coleman remains determined to make another two or three signings before the transfer deadline closes next Wednesday, and sees Marshall’s versatility as a potentially valuable asset in the final three-and-a-half months of the season.

The 26-year-old can play at right-back or right midfield, and his arrival would make it easier for Coleman to play with five at the back in the remainder of the campaign.

Loading article content

A former first-team player with Leicester City and Blackburn Rovers, Marshall joined Wolves in a £1.2m move last January. He was a regular starter in the second half of last season, under Paul Lambert, but has barely featured under current Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo.

His last Championship start came at the start of September, and his last senior appearance of any description saw him leave the bench as an 87th-minute substitute in November’s 2-0 win over Fulham.

Nuno has told him he does not have a future at Molineux, but Wolves officials are looking to sell him for around £1m in the final week of the window.

Sunderland cannot afford to pay that price unless they sell either Lamine Kone or Didier Ndong, so Coleman and managing director, Martin Bain, have been pushing for a loan deal.

Their efforts have been unsuccessful so far, but they will continue to discuss Marshall’s position with the hierarchy at Molineux. While other Championship clubs have also signalled an interest, with Fulham understood to be especially keen, no one has tabled an offer for a permanent deal. Until that changes, Coleman and Bain will feel they have a chance of sealing a loan move.

They are also hoping to tie up a temporary deal for Martin, but the Derby striker remains reluctant to make a decision over his future.

Martin travelled to Wearside on Friday to hold talks with Sunderland officials, but left the North-East having refused to commit to a final decision over where he will be playing his football in the second half of the season.

He has also talked to Reading boss Jaap Stam after the Royals agreed loan terms with Derby, but opted to fly to a winter training camp in Dubai with the rest of the Rams squad rather than sign on the dotted line to leave Pride Park.

Sources in the Midlands claim his hesitancy is linked to lingering interest from Wolves, with the current Championship leaders having included Martin on a list of potential attacking targets.

Despite his side boasting a nine-point lead at the top of the table, Wolves boss Nuno is keen to add to his attacking resources this month. He has already signed Rafa Mir to provide some support to Leo Bonatini, but would still like to recruit one more forward ahead of a final push for the Premier League.

Derby boss Gary Rowett is happy to lose Martin, having recently signed Cameron Jerome from Norwich City, but it remains to be seen whether the Rams board will be willing to loan a player to the only team currently above them in the table.

Martin would no doubt be keen on a move to Wolves, although there is still a chance he could sit tight at Derby and attempt to fight for a first-team place between now and the end of the season.

Coleman will not wait forever, and is expected to push Martin for a final answer in the next couple of days. The Sunderland boss is determined to have a new striker available for next Tuesday’s crucial relegation clash at Birmingham City, and needs to have the requisite paperwork completed by midday on Monday in order to be able to field a new arrival at St Andrew’s.