Sunderland will be looking to bounce back from their recent defeats to Charlton Athletic and Wigan Athletic when they head to Bloomfield Road this weekend to face Blackpool.
As a result of their drop-off in performance levels, the Black Cats now find themselves five points adrift of the automatic promotion places in League One.
Set to face a Blackpool side who are pushing for a play-off spot under the guidance of Neil Critchley, Sunderland know that they will have to be at their very best if they are to secure a positive result on Saturday.
Whilst Black Cats manager Lee Johnson will be prioritising on-the-field matters over transfer activity in the coming weeks, his side have already been linked with a move for a Premier League midfielder.
According to the Daily Record, Sunderland are reportedly interested in Brighton & Hove Albion prospect Marc Leonard.
Since joining Brighton from Hearts in 2018, Leonard has been used exclusively by the club at youth level.
Promoted to the club's Under-23 set-up last summer, the midfielder has provided two assists in 12 appearances in the Premier League 2 Division 1 this season.
GIVEMESPORT's Joshua Cole says...
This could turn out to be a shrewd move by Sunderland as Leonard has illustrated some real signs of promise for Brighton's youth sides in recent years.
Having been handed his first taste of senior football in the EFL Trophy earlier this season during the Seagulls' clashes with AFC Wimbledon and Charlton Athletic, the midfielder will be determined to make further strides in terms of his development during the upcoming campaign.
However, given that he has yet to make his bow for Brighton's first-team, Leonard may benefit from making a move to a team in a lower division who will be able to offer him the chance of playing regularly.
If Johnson believes that Leonard is ready to make the step up, he should take a chance on the teenager in what would a cost-efficient signing as it will still leave him with a healthy budget to draft in players who have a proven track-record of delivering the goods at this level.News Now - Sport News