Ben Woodburn scoring for Wales, could he be an option for Chris Coleman?

With the January transfer window looming, Chris Coleman’s Sunderland side will be hoping to bring in some reinforcements in order to help prevent Sunderland from suffering back-to-back relegations.

Many were surprised when Coleman left his position as Wales boss to take over on Wearside, with Sunderland’s perilous league position further hindered by a lack of funds to bring in new players.

Could Coleman try to convince some of his Welsh comrades to make a move to the Stadium of Light?

Here, we’ve listed five players that could be smart and affordable additions to Sunderland’s squad.

Danny Ward

Ward joined Liverpool from Wrexham in 2012, but has hardly featured for the Reds in that time. Such is the life of a third-choice goalkeeper.

After impressive loan spells at Morecambe and Aberdeen, he returned to Liverpool and made his debut in April 2016 in place of Simon Mignolet making several key saves in a 2-1 win against Bournemouth.

Ward was loaned out to Huddersfield Town last season, eventually helping the Terriers to gain promotion to the Premier League via the playoffs. Ward saved penalties in the both semi-final second leg and the final itself.

Ward had represented Wales at under-17, under-19 and under-21 levels, before he made his senior debut, under Chris Coleman, in a friendly against Northern Ireland in 2016. Ward was also selected in Wales’ 23-man squad for Euro 2016, and started their opening game of the tournament against Slovakia.

With Simon Mignloet and Loris Karius both ahead of Ward in the Liverpool goalkeeping pecking order, Ward could be tempted to depart for regular football once more. Either on loan or permanently.

With both Jason Steele and Robbin Ruiter having struggles in goal for the Black Cats this season, the signing of another goalkeeper could be on the cards in January.

Tom Lockyer

The Bristol Rovers captain perfectly fits the cliché of ‘old head on young shoulders’, and could be just what Sunderland need.

Primarily a centre back, Lockyer has been with Rovers for over six years and has made more than 200 appearances for the club. He was part of the side that was relegated from the Football League in 2013/14, but was a figurehead in the club’s return at the first time of asking the following year.

The 23-year-old then helped Bristol Rovers make it back-to-back promotions in 2015/16 as the Pirates went up to League One, and was one of their stand-out players in doing so.

Lockyer’s willingness to stay with Rovers after relegation to non-league was admirable, and he looks to have the fight, desire and, most importantly, quality to help Sunderland’s survival bid this year. A step up to the Championship would surely appeal to him.

Sunderland’s boss clearly rates him too, calling him up to the Wales senior side for the first time in June. Lockyer made his senior debut on November 14, in a 1-1 draw with Panama.

Ethan Ampadu

Chelsea’s Ethan Ampadu is certainly a name to watch out for, and one that could be an interesting loan option for Sunderland this January.

The 17-year-old signed for the Blues from Exeter City in the summer, and made his Premier League debut for Chelsea as a substitute in their recent win at Huddersfield. He is highly-rated by the London club.

Ampadu is primarily a defensive midfielder, but is comfortable in defence and as a full-back too. With Sunderland’s injury record this season, bringing in a player of Ampadu’s versatility could be a wise move.

In May, at the age of 16, Ampadu was called into the senior Wales squad by Coleman. He made his senior debut as a substitute in a 2-0 defeat to France on November 10, and his full international debut came four days later against Panama.

Ampadu isn’t too likely to get much more involvement with Chelsea in the near future. First team opportunities for Sunderland could be tempting for both himself and his parent club, should the Black Cats wish to bring him to the Stadium of Light.

Sam Vokes

Perhaps an ambitious inclusion, but the Burnley striker could be a good January option for Sunderland, especially if Lewis Grabban returns to Bournemouth.

Since joining Burnley in 2012, Vokes has notched 57 goals in 210 games in all competitions, including three this season.

The 28-year-old has been a prominent figure for Wales in recent years, scoring 8 goals in 56 appearances. Vokes came on as a substitute and scored for Coleman’s Wales in a 3-1 over Belgium at Euro 2016, sealing the win to take Wales to their first ever semi-final appearance at a major tournament.

Vokes’ strength and ability in the air is something Sunderland don’t possess in their frontline options this year, and he could be an ideal fit. The arrival of Chris Wood and the form of Ashley Barnes has seen Vokes slip down the pecking order at Burnley. It wouldn’t be ludicrous to see him move on, if so, would he fancy Wearside?

Ben Woodburn

Another from Liverpool, this youngster would be an excellent addition to Sunderland’s attacking options, should the Reds be willing to loan him out.

Woodburn’s rapid development over the last couple of seasons has seen him become one of the top young Premier League players to watch out for. He signed his first professional contract with Liverpool in November 2016, and has shone ever since.

He made his senior debut for Liverpool against Sunderland, coming on as a substitute in Liverpool’s 2-0 win over the Black Cats last season. Three days later, he became the club’s youngest ever goalscorer at the age of 17 years and 45 days, netting in an EFL Cup quarter final tie against Leeds United.

In March, Coleman called up the 18-year-old to the Wales senior team for the first time. In September, he made his senior debut, coming on as a substitute and scoring from 25 yards in a 1-0 win over Austria. In doing so, he became Wales’ second-youngest ever goalscorer, behind Gareth Bale.

This season, Woodburn has mostly been plying his trade as captain of Liverpool’s under-19 side. But should the Reds feel that Woodburn’s development would be enhanced by senior football in the second tier, Coleman could be more than willing to take a chance on him again.