Victorious Sunderland boss O'Neill confident of sealing Kader Mangane swoop

The Black Cats eased past West Ham 3-0 on Saturday, leading the Northern Irishman to hail his side, while Sam Allardyce ponders his options in the January window
Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill has revealed the club are closing in on a loan deal for Rennes defender Kader Mangane.

The Black Cats have been closely linked with the 29-year-old in recent days, and O'Neill has revealed the player's arrival could be just one of a number of new faces to join new boy Alfred N'Diaye at the Stadium of Light in the January window.

"I'm hoping that he is making his way over," O'Neill told reporters after Saturday's 3-0 win over West Ham.

"I'm not sure something has been absolutely complete, but it would be a loan until the end of the season. We have a number of positions we would like to fill between now and end of the January, and I'm hoping something might materialise."

The 60-year-old conceded that his side's lack of physicality had been a concern of late, but insisted the arrivals of N'Diaye and potentially Mangane were not solely due to their presence on the field.

"I think Alfred coming in isn't absolutely to do with his size, its to do with his vitality, but we are a bit small. It'd be hard to imagine a team smaller than us in the Premier League."

The win over the Hammers saw Sunderland pull six points clear of the drop zone, with Sebastian Larsson, Adam Johnson and James McClean all on the scoresheet. And O'Neill was quick to hail his side, but also warned that no side in the bottom half of the table was free from the threat of relegation.

"Win was important to us and I think anybody in the bottom half of the table still has to be looking anxiously over ones shoulder," he added.

"It was a great win for us, we got off to great start and could've scored before we got the goal. We played well for long periods but I never thought West Ham were out of the game, not at least until the third.

"[Sessesgnon] was terrific, David Vaughan played well and it would hard to pick out anyone in particular. Sebastian Larsson got a lift with his goal and couldn't do anything wrong for the next 20 minutes, but it was good to win."

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce was highly critical of his team following the defeat, and was perplexed at the "staggering" change in performance following his side's 2-2 FA Cup draw with Manchester United last weekend.

"We didn't defend correctly, didn't have the appetite for defending correctly and nullifying the oppositions strengths," he said.

"We never passed the ball as well as we know we can, really, it's difficult for me to accept the performance I've seen based on how good we played just seven days ago against Man United.

"The level of difference to that performance is staggering.

"Last week we were absolutely brilliant in all departments, this week we were poor in all departments. Hence we've got beat comprehensively by a team that deserved to beat us."

The former Newcastle and Bolton boss also lamented his side's away form of late, having failed to win on the road since November, while revealing an injury to centre-back James Collins is likely to lead him into the January transfer market in search of a replacement.

"Away from home is obviously a concern, and while we've picked two wins up and a couple of draws, our performances are getting worse," Allardyce continued.

"Even when we get an easy chance we couldn't score, we've only scored five away from home, but the whole performance was a concern today.

"We've always managed to bounce back before, we had a sticky time up to Norwich, then played really well against Norwich and then Man United.

"The big blow for me is not having enough defenders, too many of my defenders are injured. With George McCartney, Joey O'Brien not here and James Collins getting injured, the defensive side of our team is getting weak.

"I'm really going to have to strengthen that side of our team in the next few weeks."