Sunderland’s Head of Recruitment Tony Coton watched on from the stands at Valley Parade as Bradford City and Sheffield United battled it out in a competitive friendly last night.
He was there to run the rule over two of Sunderland’s top targets this summer, Charlie Wyke and Billy Sharp, though it must have been frustrating for Coton as neither man saw a great deal of action.
Whilst Wyke started the game for Bradford, he left the field after just eight minutes through a knee issue - and with speculation rife that his departure is imminent, this led some City supporters to berate him on Twitter for apparently feigning injury.
This did of course offend Wyke, and he responded angrily to a fan after the game who had directed their ire towards him via the social media platform - though the tweet has, quite rightly, since been deleted.
Coton will have been enthused by what he saw from Billy Sharp though, even despite the fact he only played 27 minutes at the end of the game.
The Sheffield United captain - who lost his spot as the first-choice forward in Chris Wilder’s side following the fine form of Leon Clarke last season - came off the bench to win the game for his side, scoring a deflected effort with just six minutes left to spare.
It’s clear to everyone that Sunderland are desperate for reinforcements everywhere in the team, but in particular up front - and it’s the job of Coton and Sunderland owner Stewart Donald to get players in through the door as soon as they possibly can.
It’s not known how serious Charlie Wyke’s injury is and whether it could scupper any potential deal, whilst Sharp is an entirely different case and even more complicated when you consider his price and the fact that he’s at home with Sheffield United.
Despite this, Sunderland remain keen on the pair and, in the case of Wyke, they are close to agreeing on a fee with Bradford after having a number of bids already turned down - though they face immense competition from Bolton Wanderers, who lodged a bid of their own yesterday in order to snatch the Boro-born striker from under our noses.