SUNDERLAND striker Josh Maja is keen for manager Chris Coleman to strengthen his attacking options as the club battle to climb off the bottom of the Championship table.

The 19-year-old hero of the Black Cats’ recent win over Fulham was an isolated figure as Coleman’s team lost 4-0 at Cardiff City, a second successive defeat that leaves them three points adrift of safety.

Coleman has admitted the club cannot afford to rely on Maja and fellow teenager Joel Asoro to provide the goals to avoid relegation and is seeking to sign two front men in this January transfer window.

Maja would welcome the help and said: “I am looking forward to it.

“I don't think it will make too much difference to me, I will keep doing all I can in training and the games when I get the opportunities. It is all about taking your opportunities when they come along."

"I have to learn from each game, take in as much experience and knowledge from the older lads and hopefully get better with every game."

The departures of Lewis Grabban, who has returned to his parent club Bournemouth, and James Vaughan, who has been sold to Wigan, have made Sunderland’s dearth of striking options acute as they face up to a critical relegation showdown against Hull City on Saturday.

Coleman has been impressed by Maja’s impact since he returned from injury, but the lack of support against Cardiff meant he was largely ineffective for most of the game.

Now, the former Wales manager is anxious to bring in reinforcements and said: “It’s not a case of ‘I’m hoping’, we’ve got to do it.

“We need help in that department because we just cannot expect, and we cannot put that type of pressure, on two young boys (Maja and Asoro).

“They’ve done well, they’ve come on in games and made impacts, won us a game, but starting games with them is not realistic.

“We need some support in that department, and we are trying - our chief executive Martin Bain is working his socks off to make something happen, as quickly as we can.

“We know that up front this window is going to be huge for us. We know that. That’s where we need to strengthen, we absolutely know that.

“Josh is young and he is going to be a good player for us. He is going to get experience, Joel Asoro, too. They are young but we can use them from time to time.

“They are there to call upon when we need them, but we need experience in that department.

“Now we’ve lost two of our experienced strikers (Grabban and Vaughan) who did not want to be with us, they wanted to be somewhere else. There was nothing we could do, but we need to replace them.”

Maja found it tough going against promotion-chasing Cardiff, who used three centre-backs – Sean Morrison, Sol Bamba and Bruno Manga – to shackle the former Under-23s striker.

Maja added: "It was always going to be a challenge, up against three very big and experienced centre-halves, it was difficult for me but we did well in the first half.

"We created a few half-chances and with a bit more quality and better decision-making in the final third we could have nicked something. It wasn't meant to be.

"The players were frustrated and down in the dressing room at the end. The manager has said we need to show more toughness and more aggression to fight and get results.

"I believe we have that within us 100 per cent. We just need to stick together and continue to keep working hard. We have to keep believing."

Maja felt the dismissal of Sunderland midfielder Didier Ndong for a lunging tackle on Junior Hoilett was harsh.

He said: "When I first saw it I didn't think it was a red, and I still don't now. I felt it was a harsh decision but the referee made his decision and we can't change that now."