Despite a good performance on Saturday for Blackburn, Jason McAteer is apparently still surplus to requirements at the Lancashire club. Boss Graeme Souness has reiterated that the Irish star is still available on a free transfer.

Sunderland are the latest club to be linked with the scorer of Ireland's winning goal against Holland earlier this month. Peter Reid is believed to be drawing up a contract to offer the ex-Liverpool midfielder.

Reid is anxious to strengthen his midfield after the loss of Don Hutchison to West Ham. Bids for other midfielders, including the Hammers star Trevor Sinclair have fallen through and Reid is now ready to end McAteer's misery.

Filed by John Raftery