Keane desperate for defensive additions to aid relegation fight

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The Independent Football

With the chairman, Niall Quinn, having secured further funding from the Drumaville consortium which owns Sunderland, Roy Keane met with the club's chief executive, Peter Walker, yesterday to discuss possible targets for January.

Keane said that Sunderland require defenders with Premier League or top-flight experience and he has been interested in Celtic's Bobo Bald recently and would like to re-sign Jonny Evans, the Manchester United full-back who was on loan on Wearside last season, but the Reading winger, Stephen Hunt, is also believed to have joined Keane's list.

Hunt signed a three-year extension in the summer but if Sunderland offered an appropriate sum, then Reading might be prepared to sell the 26 year-old. For Hunt an undoubted attraction would be that Sunderland will pay bigger wages.

Keane refused to name any target, though he said of the former Reading, now Chelsea midfielder, Steve Sidwell, "He's a good player", and while Keane has said in recent weeks that Sunderland may have to look abroad for recruits, yesterday he emphasised the need for "players with Premiership experience".

Keane has seen his side ship 31 goals so far in the Premier League, which is why they are third-bottom as they prepare to face Aston Villa at home today.