Despite Sunderland’s goalkeeping crisis easing a little in recent weeks, there are fresh rumours doing the rounds that Chris Coleman is continuing to assess his options between the sticks and may be considering a short-term deal for Leeds stopper Andy Lonergan.
Lonergan returned to Leeds in the summer after spells with Bolton, Fulham and Wolves but has found himself as number two to Felix Wiedwald in recent weeks. In truth, neither keeper has impressed at Elland Road and Thomas Christiansen may be looking to freshen things up before the transfer window closes next week.
With the Black Cats requiring reinforcements in every department on the pitch, it had been thought Coleman may make do with the goalkeepers at his disposal after a defensive improvement since he succeeded Simon Grayson at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland have kept four clean sheets in their last eight league games but capitulations continue as evidenced by thrashings at the hands of Cardiff and Sheffield United and there is a vacancy in the goalkeeping department since Mika Domingues departed Wearside ten days ago.
Youngster Max Stryjek has been recalled from a frustrating loan stint with Accrington Stanley but the Polish U21 international will likely alternate with New Zealand stopper Michael Woud in Premier League 2, with James Talbot having joined Darlington on loan for the rest of the season.
Stryjek has gone straight back into the Sunderland Under-23 side and played against Brighton last week. After an injury early into his loan spell with the League Two side, the Polish U21 international only made one appearance for Accrington.
And interest in another senior goalkeeper may yet indicate Coleman is ready to give up on either Robbin Ruiter or Jason Steele - who both arrived at the Stadium of Light in the summer following the sale of Jordan Pickford and Vito Mannone.
In truth, neither has impressed though Ruiter has established himself as Chris Coleman’s number 1 and has improved in recent weeks after a goalkeeping horror show against Millwall in November.
Still capable of costing his side a goal each game, Ruiter continues to have a question mark against him but he still presents as a better option than Steele, who has endured a nightmare since signing from Blackburn.
The 27-year-old has only played one game under Chris Coleman but the Black Cats boss may already have seen enough, as Steele proceeded to be at fault for the two goals Middlesbrough scored in the FA Cup Third Round tie earlier this month.
It would come as little surprise should Sunderland move Steele on, especially considering the Newton Aycliffe lad is supposedly on a decent wage at the cash-strapped Black Cats. Finding a buyer may be tricky but a fresh start with a League One club may be in everyone’s best interests.
Lonergan signed a two-year deal with Leeds after joining on a free but would be available for a nominal fee. The 34-year-old was one of Kit Symons’ first signings when the current Sunderland assistant was appointed as Fulham boss in 2014, so the pair know each other well.