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With a number of foreign imports, who arrived last summer, struggling to impress at the Stadium of Light, the club's sporting director is keen to look closer to home for signings

Sunderland will change their transfer policy next season and focus on home-grown players, according to sporting director Lee Congerton.

Former manager Paolo Di Canio brought in a host of players from around Europe in the build-up to this Premier League season, but many have failed to make an impact, leaving Sunderland struggling near the foot of the table.

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Congerton believes focusing on British players with top-flight experience will benefit them more, and there will be a stronger emphasis on scouting.

"Ultimately we want British players, but they cost a lot more money so we need to be smart in the market place and do our research thoroughly," he told Sunderland's matchday programme.

"When you bring in a foreign player you've got to appreciate the difficulties off the field and the patience needed.

"It helps if they've already played in the league. I look at Fabio Borini, who I think has been a success this year.

"He's a foreign player, but he's been established in this country since he was around 15 or 16 years of age. I think that's a market you have to look at quite carefully."

Defeat to West Ham on Monday left Sunderland four points from safety in the Premier League with eight games remaining.

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