SUNDERLAND are hoping to beat off competition from a number of their League One rivals to sign Leeds United youngster Robbie Gotts on a season-long loan.

Black Cats officials have held discussions with their counterparts at Elland Road over Harrogate-born Gotts, a versatile midfielder who can also play as a wing-back.

While the transfer window for Premier League clubs closed last night, teams in the Football League can complete loan signings from clubs in the top-flight until October 16, and Sunderland boss Phil Parkinson is hoping to add another two players before the end of next week.

Gotts has been on his radar all summer, but the Black Cats are not the only club to have expressed an interest in the 20-year-old, who lined up against Sunderland Under-23s in a development match last week.

Swindon Town have also held talks with Leeds officials, while Hull City and Championship side Huddersfield Town are also interested in a loan agreement.

Leeds would prefer to send Gotts to wherever he has the best chance of playing regular football, a stance that could well result in them opting for a club in League One ahead of alternative options in the Championship.

Gotts made two senior appearances for Leeds as they won promotion to the Premier League last season, and was also involved in the Whites’ Carabao Cup defeat to Hull last month.

Sunderland return to action tonight when they host Carlisle United in the EFL Trophy. Last month’s 8-1 thrashing of Aston Villa Under-21s means another victory will all-but-guarantee a place in the competition’s knockout phase, but Parkinson will use tonight’s game as an opportunity to give some much-needed game time to some of his fringe performers.

Dan Neil and Jack Diamond will start, having performed impressively against Villa’s youngsters, while Will Grigg is also expected to feature as he looks to force his way back into the reckoning for the league games. George Dobson, who has not featured since his opening-day dismissal against Bristol Rovers, will also be involved.

“There are players I want to give an opportunity to, a couple of the youngsters, but defensively we are short,” said Parkinson. “Conor McLaughlin, Tom Flanagan and Arbenit Xhemajli are away on international duty and Jordan (Willis) had a little problem with his knee, so we’ll have to look at that.”