SUNDERLAND are trying to push through a deal for Derby striker Chris Martin after admitting defeat in their pursuit of both Jon Walters and Ben Woodburn.

Chris Coleman has spoken to Derby officials in an attempt to sign Martin in time for the 29-year-old to feature in Saturday’s crucial relegation clash with Hull City, and is hoping to be able to confirm a loan agreement later in the next 24 hours.

However, having suffered disappointment when talks over Walters and Woodburn collapsed, the Sunderland boss is refusing to take anything for granted despite Derby boss Gary Rowett confirming Martin will be allowed to leave Pride Park this month.

Martin has found himself on the fringe of the first-team picture at Derby this season, with 18 of his 23 league appearances having come from the substitutes’ bench.

He is a proven performer at Championship level, having scored more than 100 league goals in a career that has featured spells at Norwich, Swindon and Crystal Palace. He spent last season on loan at Fulham, scoring ten goals in 27 league starts as the Cottagers made the Championship play-offs.

“The reality is that Chris Martin and Darren Bent at some point in this window will want to go and play football,” said Rowett. “I have spoken to those two players about it, they are in agreement with that, and it will just be about seeing whether that interest (in them) becomes more concrete.

“We have got good attacking options, different attacking options, and we will probably lose some of those options I would imagine in this window.”

Martin is understood to be willing to move to Wearside in an attempt to kick-start his career, but Sunderland are not the only Championship club to have signalled an interest in his services.

Reading have also held discussions with Martin and his representatives, while Norwich City are also understood to be interested following the recent departure of Cameron Jerome.

Sunderland will hope that the promise of regular first-team football makes them an appealing option, with Coleman currently having to rely on youngsters Josh Maja and Joel Asoro.

Lewis Grabban and James Vaughan have both left Wearside since the transfer window reopened at the start of the year, and Coleman accepts he cannot rely on Maja and Asoro to fire Sunderland to safety in the final four months of the season.

Martin’s experience would be a major bonus, and the fact the Scotland international is ready to start playing immediately is regarded as another key plus.

Coleman had hoped to have been fielding Walters on Saturday, but talks over the Republic of Ireland international’s future were shelved when he sustained an injury that will keep him on the sidelines for up to two months.

Walters has been struggling with a knee injury ever since he left Stoke City to join Burnley in the summer, and while he was fit enough to feature for the Clarets during the festive programme, the problem has continued to cause him pain.

The 34-year-old has decided he cannot continue to soldier on, and has undergone surgery to repair damage to his knee cartilage. He could be back in six weeks’ time, but Sunderland cannot afford to wait that long.

“He (Walters) went to see a specialist with a tiny split in his cartilage,” said Burnley boss Sean Dyche. “It’s not even a tear, it’s not serious, but it has to be taken care of.

“They thought it best to keyhole it and deal with it. It’s the same knee he’s been building up, and it’s unfortunate for him and us, especially with the amount of injuries we’ve picked up. Usually, it’s six to eight weeks out. It’s unlikely he’s going to go anywhere.”

Sunderland’s pursuit of Woodburn has proved equally frustrating, with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp having blocked the youngster’s proposed move to the Stadium of Light.

Coleman worked with Woodburn during his time in charge of Wales, and had hoped his personal relationship with the 18-year-old would make it easier to engineer a deal.

There was a time last week when an agreement looked imminent, but Liverpool’s decision to sell Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona changed the picture at Anfield. With Daniel Sturridge seemingly on the verge of a move to Inter Milan, Klopp has decided that he cannot afford to lose Woodburn.

The teenager has been pencilled in for a place in the squad for Liverpool’s FA Cup fourth-round tie with West Brom, and will consequently not be moving to Sunderland.

As things stand, Maja is set to continue leading the line in Saturday’s game with Hull, but Coleman accepts the chronic need for reinforcements.

“We’ve got two experienced players to replace, and to help Josh,” he said. “I don’t think we can do any more than we’re doing to make something happen. We’re fully aware of the seriousness of it.”

Jonny Williams and Paddy McNair remain unavailable for the weekend, but the midfield duo are both getting closer to a first-team return.

“He’s (Williams) trained with us,” said Coleman. “Not fully, but he’s done most of it and been integrated. The good thing is, with his shoulder injury, he’s been doing loads of running, just no contact. The acid test will be when he has that contact, but he’s ahead of schedule.

“Paddy has been stop-start off the back of being out for a long period. When you come back, you pick niggles up. Paddy has problems with his groin, which is maybe just compensation from his knee. We can’t push him – when he’s ready, he’s ready.”