Steve Bruce has confirmed that he has asked Manchester City about the possibility of Joe Hart moving to the Stadium of Light on loan this season.
The England international, who spent a successful season on loan with Birmingham City in 2009-10, said last week that he would seek a move away from Eastlands if he was once again understudy to Shay Given.
That has alerted Bruce, who will be without injured first-choice shot-stopper Craig Gordon for at least the opening six weeks of the campaign and has already agreed to sell Marton Fulop to Ipswich Town.
The Black Cats boss told the Sunderland Echo:"We've asked the question of City and we now just have to wait and see what they say.
"But the timetable is not up to us on when we get an answer, it's up to them.
"With these new 25-man squad rules, clubs don't have to name their confirmed squads until the end of August so, if they wanted to, City could delay any decisions on their squad until then."
Bruce had expressed an interest in signing David James earlier this summer only for the 40-year-old to eventually join Bristol City.
Former Manchester United stalwart Bruce added:"Premier League experience is important, but there are not too many keepers to would fit the bill for us as short-term replacements – Hart is one, James was another.
"But they are few and far between and I'm not planning to turn my eyes down towards the Championship.
"There's one or two players there that we have looked at in the past, but they lack Premier League experience too. My concern has been that we need experienced cover but, if it's not to be, it's not to be."