Jimmy Dunne could be on his way to Sunderland for a second loan spell of the season, after returning to Burnley from his temporary stint at Hearts.
The Irishman made 14 appearances for Craig Levein’s side and covered for injured club captain Christophe Berra, but his time at Tynecastle came to a premature end after suffering an ankle knock in training in November, ruling him out for the whole of December.
Former Hearts coach Jack Ross is understood to be close to sealing a loan deal for the 21-year-old, who has recovered from his injury and played 90 minutes for Burnley Under-23s in a 1-0 win over their Sheffield Wednesday counterparts on Monday.
The Jambos had hoped to extend his loan deal until the end of the season, but he returned to Turf Moor earlier this month and is now set to join the Black Cats on a similar loan deal, according to the Evening News’ sister paper the Sunderland Echo.
Speaking on Monday, Sunderland boss Jack Ross confirmed he was looking to bring in a new defender, adding: “I would like to do it as early as possible but my understanding is that it is all on track.
“Like anything, it’s not always straightforward - things can always change at the last minute which is why I’m always cautious until it is all signed.”
Ross revealed he had held talks on Monday morning and was told that a deal taking Dunne to the Stadium of Light until the end of the season “will happen this week”.
He continued: “Hopefully it will be over next couple of days.”
Dunne has experience of playing in the EFL, having spent time on loan with Accrington Stanley last season as John Coleman’s side secured promotion to League Two.