KYLE LAFFERTY is ready to accept a deal to join Sunderland and is expected to finalise things over the weekend, having been impressed by what the Wearside club has to offer.

The experienced Northern Ireland international has spent time there this week, where he liked what he got to see when he was shown around the facilities and what manager Phil Parkinson had to say.

Sunderland’s training ground, despite playing in the third tier of the English game for the second season in a row, is of Premier League standard and Lafferty was quick to realise that.

Sources north of the border have already informed that he has chosen the fresh challenge of a spell at Sunderland rather than head back to the Scottish Premier League, where Hearts are also keen.

Lafferty has had other options available since leaving Norwegian employers Sarpsborg 08 at the end of his contract. Sunderland have provided the opportunity to return to England, where he had a stint with Norwich City.

By and large his career has been spent largely outside of England, although he did have a nine-game loan at Darlington 14 years ago when he moved there temporarily from Burnley and he scored three goals.

Gary Madine, born in Gateshead, is another on the radar after his release from Cardiff City. The 29-year-old fired Bolton to the Championship when Parkinson was in charge so he knows all about the former Sheffield Wednesday marksman.

Bristol City’s teenage front-man Antoine Semenyo is another Parkinson has previously confirmed an interest in, although there is strong competition for the 19-year-old.

It has already been suggested Sunderland have been snubbed by another City forward. Winger Hakeeb Adelakun is believed to have chosen to play for Rotherham.

Parkinson, whose side face leaders Wycombe at the Stadium of Light today, still has a few weeks to bolster his squad before the window closes.

Clearly the final third of the pitch is where he is concentrating on. “If you look at it, we're playing 3-4-3 at the moment really which is three players,” said Parkinson. “Charlie Wyke down the middle and, at the moment, it's Chris Maguire and Lynden Gooch off of him.

“Duncan Watmore has played there, Marc McNulty can play in that role. There are opportunities not just for one striker, but the type of striker has got to be right who can play either side. It doesn't close the door on anyone really.”

Charlie Methven, meanwhile, has expressed regret for comments made at a meeting with supporters’ groups in November.

Even though that has not happened, The Times have reported Methven made controversial remarks when pressed on the nature of the agreement that saw the FPP group inject £10m into Madrox, secured against the club’s assets. He stepped down shortly after for personal reasons.

The Times claimed ‘he suggested people in the south would not be questioning such a deal because of a better understanding of business. The minutes report that he went as far as to suggest that this was because there were “less entrepreneurs” in the North-East.’”

Methven told The Times: “This meeting was at the end of my three-month notice period at Sunderland. I was repeatedly pressed on the negative implications of a £10m investment I’d secured for the club. Exasperated, I reacted intemperately and one of those present subsequently took me to task. I apologised to him because the comparison I made does not accurately reflect my real views. It was an off-the-cuff riposte which I regret.”

Sunderland have distanced themselves from the remarks.