PHIL PARKINSON insists he is still looking to strengthen Sunderland’s attacking options and that could lead to departures before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.

The Black Cats boss, who hopes to wrap up a deal for Rangers midfielder Greg Docherty next week, is still targeting a forward or two despite bringing Kyle Lafferty to the club.

He hinted it was not necessarily another centre-forward he was after, more those capable of playing in the supporting roles either alongside the striker or just behind.

Antoine Semenyo and Billy Sharp are two to have been heavily discussed by the Sunderland recruitment team, even though Parkinson is adamant they were merely players to have been discussed as options.

And with Charlie Wyke leading the line well and Lafferty’s arrival providing that extra option through the middle, Parkinson is not desperate for another out and out No 9.

“If you look at the shape of the team at the moment, we’ve got a number nine in Charlie and then two either side of him,” said Parkinson. “We’ve got to make sure we have options in those areas.

“Duncan Watmore’s another one, I think he’s unlucky not to be in the team. He’s trained really well again. Elliot Embleton comes back into the equation in our thinking as well.

“We’ve got to make sure by the time the window shuts, I’m not looking around the bench and we don’t have the option to change things around because that’s absolutely key.”

Lafferty is capable of playing out wide, but Parkinson does see him battling with Wyke to lead the line.

He said: “Kyle has played in a wide area for Norther Ireland and for teams as well, but predominantly he is a number nine. In this system, it would be difficult but you need options and that’s why we brought Kyle in and he’s determined to push his way in the team.”

If Sunderland can make more progress on adding to the squad then that is likely to lead to departures towards the end of the month. As things stand, Parkinson insists the likes of Will Grigg and Marc McNulty can have a part to play even if there is a chance things could change.

“Griggy has got to keep going. He could be one moment away from getting himself going,” said the Sunderland manager, whose side travel to MK Dons on Saturday.

“He’s got more competition now than he’s had for a while at the club and he’s got to earn the right to be in the team. There’s going to be clubs looking at Will Grigg because his record is exceptional and at the moment we want to keep everyone, but as the window progresses if we feel someone has fallen down the pecking order we’ll look at it differently.

“At the moment, Will is in the squad travelling down, so is Kyle and so is McNulty. We’ll have a decision to make and we’ll base that on the players we think are right for this game.

“At the moment, it’s a no (on going out on loan). But like I said, when the window draws to a close if we’re happy with the squad and someone comes in for one of our players and we feel it will benefit us and them to go then we will look at it.”

Parkinson has admitted that talks have taken place with Rangers aimed at Sunderland securing the services of Docherty this month.

While suggesting there will not be any transfer deals concluded before the game at MK Dons, Parkinson has confirmed his interest in Docherty.

“Greg is a player we have looked at and we have had initial chats,” said Parkinson. “There is a number of those chats going on. We will concentrate on the weekend and then we will see after that.”