SUNDERLAND are hoping to sign Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper Jason Steele as well as adding unattached shot-stopper Robbin Ruiter to their ranks.

Ruiter will spend the next few days training with Sunderland’s first-team squad after impressing in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Bradford City.

The Dutchman is a free agent following his release from Utrecht, and is set to be offered a permanent contract at the Stadium of Light.

Simon Grayson was satisfied with his weekend display, and while the Black Cats boss wants to see the 30-year-old at close quarters on the training ground, he is expected to give the green light to a deal within the next couple of days.

Sunderland’s goalkeeping overhaul will not end there though, with the recent departure of Jordan Pickford and Vito Mannone meaning Grayson is also keen to sign Steele.

The former Middlesbrough trainee has entered the final year of his current Blackburn contract, and could be available for around £500,000 as Rovers look to cash in this summer rather than run the risk of losing the 26-year-old for nothing in 12 months’ time.

Newton Aycliffe-born Steele was regarded as one of the most promising young goalkeepers in the country when he broke through at Boro, but while he made more than 140 senior appearances for the Teessiders, he was frozen out of the first-team picture by Aitor Karanka.

He initially joined Blackburn on loan, and has made more than 120 Championship appearances since making a permanent move to Ewood Park in December 2014.

Having been relegated to League One last season, Blackburn are having to make financial sacrifices, and while Tony Mowbray has publicly expressed a reluctance to sell any more of his senior players, sources on Wearside claim Sunderland officials are hopeful of being able to strike a cut-price deal.

A move to Sunderland would make considerable appeal to Steele, as it would enable him to remain in the Championship and return to his native North-East.

Sunderland’s spending power in the remainder of the transfer window will largely be determined by their ability to offload the likes of Lamine Kone, Wahbi Khazri and Jeremain Lens. If the Black Cats can find a buyer for the trio, Grayson could have up to £10m to spend on new additions. If they are unable to move them on though, the former Preston boss will find himself having to target loan signings and free agents.

He has inquired about Bournemouth duo Marc Wilson and Lewis Grabban, and Eddie Howe has confirmed the duo do not have a future at the Vitality Stadium.

Wilson, a versatile defender who has spent most of his career at centre-half, and Grabban, a forward who spent the second half of last season on loan at Reading, have not been awarded a Bournemouth squad number for next season.

“I think there is a good chance both players may look to leave the football club in this window,” said Howe. “Obviously, I have to make some difficult choices and work with the players I feel are going to participate during our season. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to make some tough calls.”

Grayson is making tough calls of his own, but having handed Adam Matthews a pre-season lifeline, the Sunderland boss is set to include the full-back in his plans for next season.

Matthews spent last season on loan at Bristol City, and freely admits he would almost certainly have left Sunderland for good had David Moyes remained as manager. Grayson’s appointment has changed things, and Matthews is hoping he will get another chance to impress when the Black Cats play their final pre-season friendly against Celtic this weekend.

“He (Grayson) has given everyone a chance,” said Matthews. “He’s given a few of the youngsters a chance so he’s been brilliant. He’s been good because I think if Moyes was still here, I wouldn’t be.

“I’m thankful to him for giving me a chance, and hopefully he sees something in me that one or two of the other managers haven’t.”