McFadden's Cats deal close ahead of departures

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MARTIN O'NEILL has told some of his fringe men to think positively about the future if they leave Sunderland on loan this month as a deal for James McFadden edges closer.

The Black Cats boss is ready to give the go-ahead for temporary moves away from the Stadium of Light in the hope it will bring the best out of his players.

Young striker Ryan Noble, Connor Wickham and Ji Dong-Won have all found it difficult to break into the Premier League team following the arrivals of Steven Fletcher and Louis Saha.

Wolves have shown an interest in Wickham, while they are among a clutch of Championship clubs interested in Fraizer Campbell along with Hull City.

Defenders Blair Adams and John Egan are among a number of promising talents who could be allowed to leave on a short-term basis.

O'Neill was keen to get through the first couple of months of the season before considering the majority of loan proposals.

But now he has made up his mind to let some of his players gain valuable experience in the Football League, even if he will not be allowing them to head out all at the same time.

O'Neill said: "I'm all for loaning players out. We don't have a massive squad but I could stagger those loans so you don't have a big group out at the same time.

"In the case of Ryan Noble, it's something I'd consider. He looks like he needs a proper chance to go and play. We've taken on a couple of centre forwards and it could be a chance. We will see."

Having already used the loan market himself to bring in left-back Danny Rose, O'Neill is keen to stress to any Sunderland player that heads off to show they deserve a chance on Wearside.

"In the past going out on loan might have had a stigma to it, now that's far from the case," said O'Neill. "We've taken Danny on loan here and had he been down at Spurs he wouldn't have been in their starting line up, so it's a great opportunity for him. That should be the way the players look at it."

The Sunderland manager's willingness to allow players to go on loan is only likely to increase this week if he can conclude a deal for McFadden.

The ex-Everton forward has had a successful two-week trial at the club's Academy of Light training complex and O'Neill is close to pulling off a deal for the 29-year-old free agent.

After his release from his second spell at Goodison Park in the summer, McFadden has been looking to stay in the Premier League wants to team up with his old Scotland teammate Fletcher again.

O'Neill said: "We'll see how it goes but he has done well and we'll talk."

McFadden has played 48 times for Scotland but has struggled to hold down a regular place at Birmingham and Everton since he ruptured his cruciate knee ligament during his time at St Andrew's.

It had looked as if he would return to the Scottish Premier League with Motherwell after spending the summer training there, but was keen to take a chance to impress at Sunderland after O'Neill expressed an interest.

If McFadden does arrive it will be O'Neill's third free agent signing of the year following the arrivals of Saha and Carlos Cuellar following their release from Tottenham and Aston Villa respectively.

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