The prospect that Chris Coleman could make a move for Gary Madine in the January transfer window may have gone down like a tuna casserole amongst the Sunderland support, but the Bolton target-man could do a job here and is just the type to suit the preferred playing style of the new Black Cats boss.
Madine is the proverbial boyhood Newcastle fan - growing up in Birtley, the Gateshead suburb annexed to the Geordie nation, the 27-year-old has supposedly dated Adam Johnson’s ex Stacey Flounders and was jailed in 2013 after being found guilty of two charges of assault. He was arrested again last month in the north east following a pub brawl, but no charges were made.
Naming Alan Shearer and Chris Waddle as his heroes growing up, Madine was originally on the books of Middlesbrough as a youngun before being picked up by Carlisle United following his release from the smog-filled wastelands down the A19.
Following in the footsteps of Carlisle legend Danny Graham, who had earlier crossed the pennines to Cumbria, Madine made over 60 appearances whilst at Brunton Park and returned a rough one-in-four goalscoring record.
His exploits at Carlisle attracted the attention of Sheffield Wednesday boss Alan Irvine, who swooped in 2011, and Madine proved a success at Hillsborough before his jail sentence a couple of years later. Loan spells back at Brunton Park, as well as at Coventry and Blackpool, followed his release before he signed for Bolton in 2015.
At 6ft 3in, Madine is good in the air and possesses sufficient aggression to make it count. The Bolton striker is the type of number 9 that Chris Coleman has favoured throughout his managerial career and would suit the style of play the Welshman will be implementing at the Stadium of Light as we move forward.
Coleman has operated with a big lad in the middle at each of his previous clubs and during his time as Wales manager. At Fulham he had Brian McBride - the swashbuckling American was simply effective with balls in the air and directing crosses; at Sociedad it was Imanol Agirretxe, who excels at flick-ons and rising above bodies in the box, and with Wales he utilised the aerial prowess of Sam Vokes to win headers and provide second-ball winning opportunities.
Madine may be a down-grade on those he’s utilised previously but with little to spend and a Championship relegation battle to fight, Coleman eyeing up the Bolton boy makes a whole load of sense.