SUNDERLAND boss Phil Parkinson is working on the basis that defender Bailey Wright will not play again this season – prompting him to consider the free agent market.

The ankle ligament damage sustained at Oxford United last week has ruled him out for the next eight to 12 weeks, but Parkinson is not even thinking about him making a return before the end of the campaign.

The Sunderland boss is now looking at options who he could sign outside of the window and the list of domestic-based free agents includes former Sunderland defender Marc Wilson, who he had at Bolton last season, but he will not be on the radar.

Ex-West Ham man James Collins is an experienced alternative, while former Bolton and Middlesbrough defender Andrew Taylor is first team coach at Sunderland and only retired in September.

But Parkinson is sad to have lost Wright, on loan from Bristol City, who started well at Sunderland.

“He has damaged ankle ligaments, so is looking at eight to 12 weeks,” said Parkinson. “It’s best to say he’s in for the season.

“It’s disappointing for him and for us. Good contribution for us. Equally that’s the pitfalls of football, you need to have the squad to cope and we believe we have got that.

“We have nothing on Bailey’s future at the moment. A lot of this season is left, he is staying with us for rehab so a lot of opportunities to have a chat with him.”

Sunderland don’t have any other fresh problems ahead of Saturday’s visit of Bristol Rovers. Alim Ozturk is in line to figure, although Joel Lynch is also fit again.

Parkinson added: “Alim was playing well before we left him out, he took is professionally, took it well and popular in squads among players and supporters.

“Alim has been left out before and recognised he comes back in and done well. Joel Lynch is back in training as well. Lose one player but opportunity for someone else.”