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Following top scorer Steven Fletcher's withdrawal against Manchester United on Saturday, the Black Cats' boss is looking to reinforce his ranks during the upcoming transfer window

Martin O'Neill has conceded that he will need to strengthen his Sunderland squad in the January transfer window if they are to remain competitive in the Premier League this season.

The Black Cats have been hit by a number of injuries to important first-team players Wes Brown, Lee Cattermole, Phil Bardsley and Danny Rose this season, with the club managing to register just three win from 17 league games.

To increase the Sunderland manager's concerns, top goalscorer Steven Fletcher was forced off at half-time during Saturday's 3-1 defeat against Manchester United after the striker aggravated a back injury which he had picked up in the warm up.

And O'Neill believes his already small squad is in dire need for reinforcements ahead of a possible relegation battle: “I think that we would have to seriously look at strengthening the side in January.

"We don’t have any great numerical strength, and we’ve got a few injuries. You're going to get that, and we have to try and cope with it. It’s inevitable when you don’t have strength in depth."

Sunderland currently sit at 16th in the league, just one point above the relegation zone.

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