PADDY McNAIR has urged Chris Coleman not to forget about him as the Sunderland manager looks at ways of adding to his midfield options during this month’s transfer window.

Coleman has made no secret of his desire to add to his squad now the month-long window has opened and Darron Gibson’s groin injury has heightened the need for reinforcements in that area.

The Sunderland manager has already been linked with former Black Cats' midfielder Jack Colback, while he is looking at others who could be available this month; including Middlesbrough's Adam Clayton and Adam Forshaw after they were left out of Tony Pulis’ first two games.

Coleman has described this month as “critical” in his bid to turn Sunderland around and if he is unable to bring anyone in this week then he will be short in the midfield area for Saturday’s FA Cup tie at Boro.

Lee Cattermole will still be missing for a few weeks, while Didier Ndong is not expected to be fit and Jack Rodwell is still not even in the manager’s plans. That means the onus is on McNair proving he is ready to start and hold down a place.

The 22-year-old has had a torrid time since moving to Wearside, starting just eight league games in 19 months. After returning from a year-long lay-off in November, he suffered a groin problem and made his comeback as a substitute against Barnsley on New Year’s Day.

McNair said: “I was out a long time, so then to come back and get done again with a groin after a few games was disappointing. I would like to be fitter and that’s what I am focused on now. I think that will just come with games and hopefully I can get those early in the New Year.”

The trip to Boro in the FA Cup would be an ideal opportunity to build up that fitness and he is looking forward to playing a key role under Coleman after being impressed by the club’s latest manager.

McNair said: “He seems great. Since he came in he has given us a lot of confidence. We have won a few games, defended stronger than we were. We have to make sure we build from there and on those signs of progress. I am sure we will be fine if we can do that.

“We have bounced back before. We have a good group of lads in there, we know we have to do it again.

“It does feel different these days, but after coming off the high on Saturday when we beat Nottingham Forest to then lose at home against Barnsley was hard to take. It’s frustrating.

“We know we can beat anyone in the league but it’s about getting the confidence going in the league again.”

Sunderland’s defeat to relegation rivals Barnsley saw them slip back into the drop zone.

McNair said: “We had got ourselves on top a bit in the first half and failed to make the most of it, then we looked to build on that in the second half. We let that early goal in like we did and from there it was just an uphill battle.

“It does keep happening where we win one and the slip up, but we have to remember we have won a few and that proves what we can do, what we are capable of. We have to put this behind us and go to Boro, try to build confidence again from there.

“We go into every game looking to win, we were confident going into the Barnsley game which is why it is so frustrating. It just wasn’t to be.”

As well as midfield , Coleman is seeking recruits in a variety of areas particularly in the final third. Liverpool’s Ben Woodburn is still expected to be one of the early arrivals on loan, although that deal has slowed up.

There has also been interest in James Vaughan from Wigan, with Coleman insisting he can’t afford to let him go at this stage with the prospect of Lewis Grabban probably heading back to Bournemouth. Norwich City striker Cameron Jerome, rated £1.5m, is being heavily linked.

Coleman said: “Imagine if we sold James Vaughan right now? Where do we go then? There will be interest in a few of our players. But we couldn’t at the minute let James go.

“We only have Josh Maja and Joel Asoro … it’s alright bringing them in but we can’t go to the end of the season with just the two young players.”