Martin O'Neill plans Tim Cahill loan to aid Sunderland's recovery

Former Everton forward available in the new year

Martin O'Neill is ready to ask Tim Cahill to provide Sunderland with a new year boost as he attempts to drag his club up the Premier League table.

Sunderland are in talks with New York Red Bulls over a winter loan move for the 33-year-old Australia international, who scored 68 goals in 278 appearances during his eight seasons at Everton before moving to the United States last summer. He would certainly be welcomed by Sunderland fans after proving something of a thorn in their side over the years.

He scored seven times in 14 outings against Sunderland for the Merseysiders and was also the man who denied them a trip to the 2004 FA Cup final with a semi-final winner for Millwall at Old Trafford.

Cahill has registered just once in 12 MLS appearances for the Red Bulls to date, but O'Neill is keen to increase his options.

Sunderland were denied a win by a concerted Tottenham fightback on Saturday, although they will approach 2013 with a measure of confidence restored.

The Sunderland manager said: "The mood has always been pretty upbeat, but of course winning football matches, as we have been doing just recently, has given the boys an extra boost of confidence. That was the big thing."

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