Will Phil Parkinson rue Sunderland’s failure to sign Gary Madine after Saturday’s League One clash with Blackpool at Bloomfield Road?

Blackpool striker Gary Madine is ‘desperate’ to play against Sunderland this weekend, according to the Gazette, shortly after Phil Parkinson tried and failed to bring him to the Stadium of Light.

In an alternative universe, an experienced centre-forward would perhaps be competing for a place in the Black Cats’ starting XI as they look to get their League One promotion push back on track away at Bloomfield Road on Saturday.

But Madine may be wearing Blackpool’s iconic orange shirt instead, having elected to kick-start his career in the North West rather than return to the North East.

The Northern Echo reported back in January that Sunderland were keen to snap up the Gateshead-born 29-year-old after he was released by Cardiff City. Phil Parkinson certainly knows Madine well, calling a striker who helped Bolton win promotion from the third-tier in 2017 an ‘outstanding’ talent.

Any deal was likely to divide supporters, given Madine’s very public adoration for a certain black-and-white clad club just a few miles down the road from Wearside.

And while Parkinson did eventually avoid a signing which risked alienating many on the Sunderland terraces, Madine is chomping at the bit to be involved in two days’ time against the club that could have snapped up him just a few weeks ago.

“There’s a chance with Gary. He’s feeling a little bit better and with him being a Geordie and this being Sunderland, I’m sure he’ll be doing everything he can to be part of the game on Saturday,” said new Blackpool coach Neil Critchley.

“I know he’ll be desperate to be involved.”

Sunderland signed Kyle Lafferty instead and, like Madine, he has scored two league goals since January.

In other news, 'More physical than Pirlo': Reported Liverpool target described as an 'incredible' talent