SUNDERLAND are hot on the trail of French international striker Lilian Laslandes.

The continuing back problems being experienced by Republic of Ireland striker Niall Quinn, who was forced to leave the field after only 37 minutes in Estonia, could well see Wearside boss Peter Reid intensify his search for a big targetman.

Laslandes, who helped Bordeux climb to fourth place in the French First Division last season, is in the same mould as Quinn and is a proven finisher, having averaged 15 goals over the last four seasons.

Reid confirmed last night: "Lilian is a player I admire and he is one of a few I am currently looking at."

The 29-year-old has played seven times for France, scoring three goals at international level, and he is currently attracting interest from Paris St Germain and Glasgow Celtic.

Sunderland have had the player watched closely over the past few months and Reid recently travelled to France to run the rule over the possible target.

Laslandes began his career at the Saint Sevrin club in 1991 before moving to Auxerre, where he played for five seasons.

He then moved to Bordeaux and is regarded as one of the most dangerous strikers in France.

After signing Argentinian midfielder Nicolas Medina for £3.5m Reid is concentrating his efforts on securing a top-notch striker in time to take part in the club's pre-season build up and play alongside England international Kevin Phillips.

Quinn, who is 35 in October, was troubled by a back problem for most of last season and after Ireland's victory in Estonia manager Mick McCarthy hinted that his big striker might need an operation.

McCarthy hopes that Quinn will prove his fitness before the Republic's next World Cup qualifier against Holland in Dublin on September 1.

McCarthy said: "I hope Niall will be fit again, for his sake as much as anything because the last thing he needs at his age is a back operation."