CHRIS COLEMAN admits his January wheeling-and-dealing will be crucial to Sunderland’s prospects of pulling clear of trouble in the second half of the season.

The Black Cats head to Championship leaders Wolves today looking to improve their position in the bottom three, but Coleman admits he already has half an eye on next month’s transfer window.

The Sunderland boss knows he will only have limited funds at his disposal next month, although his spending power would increase significantly if he was able to sell either Lamine Kone or Didier Ndong.

As things stand, though, he is anticipating a difficult month of trying to negotiate cut-price transfers or loan deals as he attempts to inject some new life into a squad that has won just two of its 20 league games.

Coleman is known to be interested in Bolton striker Gary Madine, and has also been linked with a loan move for Liverpool forward Ben Woodburn, who he worked with during his time in charge of Wales.

Danny Ward, another Wales international currently on Liverpool’s books, is an additional loan target as Coleman looks to address Sunderland’s problems in the goalkeeping position.

The Black Cats currently have four loan players on their books – Lewis Grabban, Jonny Williams, Brendan Galloway and Tyias Browning – but while Championship clubs are only allowed to name four loanees in a match-day squad, they are permitted to have an unlimited number of loan players on their books.

“I think we have to look and bring in new faces, that’s obvious and we will try to do it,” said Coleman, who is still without a host of injured players as he looks to select the side that will line up at Molineux. “Are they deals where we can pay money? Maybe not. Maybe. But that’s not definite and we will possibly look at loan deals, and they can be positive if you are cute and clever.

“A lot of clubs at this level will be looking at the same players and we are all armed with the same information on them. Players at big clubs who aren’t playing. We will be in a dogfight for players.

“Maybe we will lose one or two ourselves. But new faces would be good for us, which is probably the right way to go for certain individuals and ourselves.

“We have to get the best out of what we have, and be open-minded going into January. Ideally, we get all we want, but it might not happen. It’s up to us to then get the best out of what we have.”

Coleman has spent the last few weeks fielding calls from agents and making approaches for potential targets as he looks to ensure he can hit the ground running when the transfer window reopens at the start of next month.

Having spent the last five years managing Wales, he admits he is slightly rusty when it comes to assessing transfer options and trying to push through deals.

Chief executive Martin Bain will be working alongside him, and while he remains committed to improving the performances of the players currently on Sunderland’s books, he is excited about the prospect of being able to inject some fresh talent into his side for the second half of the season.

“I haven’t been at it in the transfer market for six years,” said Coleman, who left his position in charge of Wales to take over at the Stadium of Light. “Normally, my calls have been to managers and players trying to convince them to come and play for Wales and I’ve not had to go into the loan or transfer market in international football.

“I think I’ll enjoy the wheeling and dealing though. There’s an excitement about it for me. I’ve been out of it for a while, and those connections you make and shuffling your pack…I’m in it daily now, my phone is ringing off the hook, about different players. I want things to happen.

“In club management (before), I used to think January was manic. I didn’t want to lose this player, I’m in a fight to get this player and never really looked forward to it. It’s a small window and once it’s finished, it’s done. But this time it’s new to me, I’m not bleating about it.

“It could be dangerous that I’ve been out of it for so long and I see why people say that. But for me, it’s new, it’s fresh and I’m quite excited about it. January is another way to try and change the situation, and it’s quite exciting for me.”