Sunderland manager Lee Johnson is poised to make his second signing of the January transfer window with a loan acquisition of Brighton’s Alex Cochrane on the cards.

Sunderland announced their first arrival of 2021 with the permanent signing of Forest Green Rovers captain Carl Winchester. Johnson though is weary of his left-back options with Denver Hume now having been sidelined for two months.

“I think we have to consider (signing a left-back), absolutely,” Johnson told The Northern Echo. “We have a good left-back (McFadzean) and a couple who can play there, but there are so many games, so it has to be a consideration for us.

“Either that, or we have to find one from within our ranks, and I can’t see one there at the moment who is ready to play all the games that we need at the level we need.”

Cochrane is currently on loan with Belgian second-tier side St. Gilloise. There he’s featured six times in the league but The Northern Echo claim that Sunderland have ‘initiated talks’ with Brighton over a loan deal for Cochrane – their report also claims that Brighton have the option to recall Cochrane at any time.

Speaking about the 20-year-old last summer, Brighton manager Graham Potter spoke to The Brighton and Hove Independent of his admiration for Cochrane:

“He has been with us throughout this lockdown period. He has impressed, he has a really good attitude and we like him.

“He is one of two, three or four young players where we need to sit down and think about the right pathway for them. But he is a god lad and I have really enjoyed working with him.”

Held in high-regards by Brighton then, Potter may feel that a move to Sunderland could be much better for his development than his current loan in Belgium. Although he’s started the last five games for his loan club, Brighton know that he’ll likely have just as much opportunity for game-time at Sunderland given the injury to Hume.

It’d be a keen signing for Sunderland as Johnson starts to put a much more energetic, exciting stamp on this side.

They currently sit in 10th-place of the League One table – three points behind Accrington Stanley in 6th-lace and now 12 behind leaders Lincoln City. Up next for Johnson is a return to League One duties with a trip to AFC Wimbledon this coming weekend.