Mark Bunn’s first-team prospects disappeared pretty quickly midway through last season. The veteran goalkeeper looked set to secure his place in Aston Villa’s starting XI with young Italian Pierluigi Gollini making one mistake too many.
But after just four consecutive Championship appearances between December and January, Villa brought in Sam Johnstone from Manchester United and Bunn was set for another prolonged run on the bench.
The 33-year-old has not even made a single appearance in any competition this season. And how fellow Championship giants Sunderland would love to be in a position where they could keep a reliable and experienced shot-stopper in reserve.
The goalkeeping department has provided no end of debate this season on Wearside with neither Robbin Ruiter nor Jason Steele, summer signings from FC Twente and Blackburn Rovers respectively, doing enough to convince between the sticks.
New manager Chris Coleman appears to have put his faith in Dutchman Ruiter for now but his tendency to swing wildly from the sublime to the ridiculous isn’t exactly what a club fearing successive relegations needs.
And with Bunn out-of-favour at Villa and unlikely to cost much in the way of a transfer fee, should Sunderland test the water with a bid as the January transfer window approaches?
Bunn may not be the most impressive shot-stopper in world football, let alone the Championship, but he is solid, characterful and, most importantly of all, cheap.
In other words, he could be perfect for a cash strapped Sunderland who keep on shipping goals.