Sam Allardyce has refused to rule out bringing in Kevin Nolan as his first signing at Sunderland.
Allardyce held his first press conference since being appointed manager of the Premier League strugglers on Tuesday.
Nolan has captained Allardyce sides at Bolton Wanderers and West Ham and is currently a free agent having left Upton Park by mutual consent at the end of August.
Both the manager and the player spent time with Newcastle United, leaving open the intriguing prospect of the pair facing up to their former employers in the Tyne-Wear derby at the end of this month.
"I have to assess the squad and whether I need another midfield player,"Allardyce said.
"Kevin and me go back a long way but I need to assess the ability of the squad and then take it from there.
"If I feel Kevin may be someone I can look at in the future, and will give us something, then that may be a line I enter down."
Like his playing squad, Allardyce will also give the current backroom staff at the Stadium of Light a chance to prove their worth in the battle against relegation.
"The club has fantastic facilities to support the players and I hope it has the fantastic staff to support them," he said. "What I want to find out is whether the staff are doing as much as they can to help the players, and some of the players are disappointed with what they've produced up until now.
"I'm happy to give people here a chance. They're highly qualified, but I just want to see if they can work to my methods and if we all get on. If that's okay, then I don't envisage many changes. If it doesn't work, then I'll suggest a change, but I wouldn't envisage that is going to be a priority."
Allardyce added: "Getting in my assistant is a priority. I have a few irons in the fire but nothing definite as yet and I won't disclose who it is until I get a yes from them. When I get my number two in then I'll be happy."
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