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SAFC’s striker search nears a worrying point; could any of these four be headed to Wearside?

It’s just over two weeks until the Championship season starts and Sunderland have only one recognised senior striker on their books. With that in mind, we take a look at four forwards that could be potential targets for Simon Grayson in his bid to strengthen his squad.

Sunderland v Birmingham City - Premier League Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images

Jordan Hugill - Preston North End

Newcastle United v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Jordan Hugill enjoyed a successful campaign for Preston North End last season, bagging 13 goals in 47 appearances for the mid-table side.

It is clear that Grayson thinks alot of Hugill and the 25-year-old may be tempted to reunite with his former boss in the North East, particularly as the striker hails orignally from Middlesbrough.

However, Preston won't let Hugill leave easily. The club have already turned down a bid of around £2.5 million from Birmingham City and are unlikely to sell him on the cheap. If we’re serious about our interest in him, we’ll have to dig deep.

Verdict: Unlikely.

Sam Gallagher - Southampton

Brentford v Blackburn Rovers - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Sam Gallagher spent last season on loan at Blackburn Rovers from Southampton and impressed with 12 goals in 42 appearances, despite the side struggling and ultimately being relegated to League One.

The England U-20 international is reportedly set to sign a new contract with the Saints and could comfortably become a squad option next season for Mauricio Pellegrino, but with the likes of Manolo Gabbiadini, Charlie Austin and Shane Long ahead of him in the pecking order, the 21-year-old may also be sent back out on loan to develop.

Verdict: Another cheap, viable loan from a top flight club? It’s certainly plausible.

Ross McCormack - Aston Villa

Aston Villa v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Ross McCormack appeared to be at the peak of his career when playing for Leeds United under Grayson, grabbing 53 goals in 144 appearances for The Whites. The striker later swapped the North for the South and made the move to Fulham in 2014, continuing his impressive form with 38 goals in 89 appearances.

However, a £12 million transfer to Aston Villa two years later saw the 30-year-old's career take a turn for the worst. McCormack has managed 3 goals in 20 appearances for the Villans, and a fall-out with Steve Bruce saw him dropped from the first team for "continually missing training", resulting in the forward being sent out on loan to Nottingham Forest for the second half of the 2016/17 season.

While McCormack has had a difficult time in the Midlands, a reunion with Grayson may see the player get back to his goalscoring ways.

However, with Villa having spent £12 million on his signature, it is unlikely that they will let him go for much less - a fee that may trouble Grayson.

Verdict: Villa could cut their losses and let McCormack go for less than what they paid for him, but a loan move late in the window is probably more likely.

Cameron Jerome - Norwich City

Norwich City v Birmingham City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Cameron Jerome is very much a proven Championship striker, with an impressive goalscoring record to match. The forward was a key figure in Norwich's return to the Championship last season, claiming 16 goals and 7 assists, taking his tally in the second tier to 76 goals.

Despite Jerome's age of 30 years old, he appears to be playing at the peak of his career at Norwich and it would be almost guaranteed that he would do a job for Sunderland as Defoe's replacement at this level.

With Norwich failing to gain promotion last season and Jerome not getting any younger, he may look to play in the Premier League once more and could perhaps see this as a possibility with a club like Sunderland.

That said, we are not the only team chasing him, with Nottingham Forest apparently also interested. Would we pay anywhere near the £6m it will reportedly take to secure his services? I’m going to guess that the answer is probably no, but we’ll see.

Verdict: Rumours have suggested that Sunderland balked at Norwich’s asking price for the forward. As spending in this league already this summer has proved, though, there are teams in this division better equipped financially to purchase good players than we are. He’d be perfect though, wouldn’t he?

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