Rebuilding the rotten core; Lafferty & Stokes linked to Sunderland - would be a laugh if nowt else


Sunderland are desperate to bring in a couple of strikers ahead of the transfer window closing on Wednesday, but this pair of hell raisers would bring the house down - literally. 


As Chris Coleman sweats on a decision from Chris Martin as to whether the Derby hit man is prepared to ditch a promotion charge for a relegation battle, newspaper attention continues to focus on who else Sunderland could usher in to save their ongoing striker crisis. 

The Black Cats probably need two to offer options alongside teenager Josh Maja, but imagine the mania if hellraisers Kyle Lafferty and old boy Anthony Stokes were the pair to land at the Stadium of Light. Both are seemingly available for a late move in the January transfer window and oh boy what fun we could have with this duo. 

Lafferty joined Hearts last summer insisting he had returned to Scottish football desperate to shake off his bad-boy image. Recently admitting to a gambling problem, the 30-year-old has a habit of declaring himself settled down each time he joins a new club. 

A spell at Palermo a few years ago ended with the Italian club's president declaring "He is an out-of-control womaniser, an Irishman without rules. He is someone who disappears for a week and goes on the hunt for women in Milan". The team's then-manager had declared there was nothing he could do for his star striker and he would have to leave. 

Lafferty's career has been marred by embarrassing farces on and off the pitch. A bizarre incident in 2009 when he fell to the floor clutching his face, after going head to head with Aberdeen's Charlie Mulgrew despite there being little contact, was laughable at best. A fondness for women has led to assorted kiss-and-tell stories surfacing down the years, most notably a former wife dumping him after discovering sleazy texts sent to a chambermaid. 

Indeed, Lafferty would have fitted right in with Anthony Stokes at the heart of Sunderland's den of iniquity of the last decade. Another approaching his 30s having never made the most of what he had, the Dubliner has washed around a string of second-tier and Scottish clubs since departing the Stadium of Light in 2009. 

Now on his way out at Hibs after a string of disciplinary issues have reached a head, the 29-year-old looks like being on the hunt for a new club before the transfer window shuts next week. Linked with a move to Charlton, it seems only natural that Stokes will also be mooted as a potential striker headed for Sunderland. 

Fined a small fortune last year for assaulting an Elvis impersonator, Stokes enjoyed a wayward reputation during his time at the Stadium of Light. Famously banned from The Glass Spider by Roy Keane who thought his player's late night excursions were proving too distracting, the striker was a member of the Barnsley Three - the trio of players famously left behind by the Sunderland boss for turning up late for a trip to Oakwell in 2007. 

With Stokes and Lafferty potentially on the look-out for a new club before the window closes on Wednesday, what odds the pair of under-performing jack-the-lads rekindling a little rotten core spirit on Wearside?



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