VICTOR ANICHEBE claims Sunderland’s financial problems do not have to be a barrier to improving the squad – and points to his own performances as proof that a lack of money does not mean it is impossible to recruit Premier League players.

Sunderland chief executive Martin Bain went public this week to reveal that David Moyes would only have “very limited” funds in next month’s transfer window, with Ellis Short reluctant to add to the club’s current debts, which stand at around £140m.

Moyes has not attempted to hide his frustration at the lack of financial wriggle room, with his injury-ravaged squad still sitting in the Premier League relegation zone despite Saturday’s 1-0 win over Watford.

Ideally, Moyes would like to make two or three additions next month, and Anichebe has urged his manager to pay close attention to the free-agent market. The striker was out of contract himself before signing for Sunderland in September, and his aggressive attacking displays have been a key factor in the club’s recent improvement.

“Come January, if we could get a couple of faces in, that would be a big help,” said Anichebe, who watched Patrick van Aanholt’s second-half strike secure Saturday’s success. “They don’t have to be big-money signings – there are a lot of people out there who could make an impact

“I was free, and so was Steven (Pienaar). There are a lot of free people out there who are itching to prove a point, and they’re the type of people who I think could really help change things. I came in on a free, wanting to prove a point, and I’ve done well since I came here.

“They’re the kind of people I think you should target – hungry people with a point to prove could really help push us on. There are a lot of people out there – I’ve got friends in a similar position to the one I was in who have been on to me asking if they can speak to the manager.

“There are a few people that we could get in. We’ve got good coaching staff and good people behind the scenes, and I’m sure they’re looking at that now. I’ve shown what’s possible.”

Even if Sunderland were to bring in a couple of free transfers or low-cost signings next month, Moyes would still be operating with one of the smallest squads in the Premier League.

He will lose Lamine Kone, Didier Ndong and Wahbi Khazri to the Africa Cup of Nations next month – Papy Djilobodji could also be involved in the tournament in Gabon if he is recalled by Senegal – and with Jan Kirchhoff having joined an already-lengthy long-term injury list last week, resources are being stretched.

In some respects, that is nothing new for either Moyes or Anichebe, as the pair were used to working under tight financial constraints at Everton. The Everton squad was never one of the biggest in the league, and Anichebe feels there can be benefits to working with a tight group of players.

“It can be beneficial to have a small squad,” he said. “We always had a small squad at Everton, and that’s how I was able to come through as a young boy. That’s how I got my chance, and there were a lot of other young players who were able to come through because of the tight budget and the small squad.

“The gaffer is used to that, and he knows how to deal with that type of thing. Here, it’s a bit more stretched than I’ve seen before, but you only have to look at the club to see how much the people upstairs have invested. It’s a great club.”

While Sunderland’s players were aware of last week’s developments with regard to the club’s finances, Moyes remains confident that off-field issues will not affect their performances on the pitch.

Saturday’s victory lifted the Black Cats to within a point of safety ahead of their Boxing Day trip to Manchester United, and Moyes is hoping they will maintain the rate of progress they have displayed in the last two months.

“I’ve not spoken to the players about it (the financial situation), because I see that the players’ task is to focus on their jobs and focus on the next game,” he said. “They're galvanised in the dressing-room just now, they know how big a win it was for us because we've been saying it to them since Wednesday night how important it was. They knew it, and they’ve done that.

“They’ve been here before some of them, not all of them, but I've not spoken to them about anything else because at the end of the day it's up to them to do their best. They're paid well as professionals, and their job isn't to worry about anything going on off the field.”