DANNY Graham is the man Dougie Freedman has identified to lift the gloom at the Reebok Stadium.
The under-fire Wanderers boss wants to bring the Sunderland striker in on a short-term loan ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup clash against Cardiff City.
Alarm bells have been sounded after Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough were also reported to be in the hunt for the 28-year-old, who is now surplus to requirement at both his parent club and loan club Hull City.
But Freedman desperately needs a boost after Saturday’s 7-1 thrashing at Reading and had been frantically working on a way of bringing Graham to the club early last week.
In the light of the Madejski massacre, the Wanderers boss made a plea to club owner Eddie Davies and chairman Phil Gartside to try and fund some recruitment before the close of the transfer window.
Wanderers are light on strikers after losing the services of Jermaine Beckford with a hamstring injury but failed to raise the cash needed to complete the deal before the weekend.
There are also reports today that the Whites may have been priced out of a move for former loan front man Joe Mason with Cardiff City reportedly demanding a fee of £2million for his services.
Graham had been on loan at Hull City since the start of the season but has struggled for goals since leaving Swansea City 12 months ago.
The Gateshead-born front man moved to Sunderland in a £5million deal in January last year but failed to score in 13 games on Wearside. He then waited 14 games to open his account at Hull before the Tigers ended the deal.
While his recent form may have dipped in front of goal, Graham’s record at Championship level is an impressive one – with 38 strikes in 92 league starts for Watford.
Graham left Vicarage Road for Swansea City when they had gained promotion to the Premier League in 2011, where he also managed a respectable 15 goals in his two seasons.
After Hull splashed out £14million to sign Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic last week, Graham is understoof to have been offered out to a number of Championship clubs.
David Ngog played up front alone against Reading and though the fact was hardly celebrated in light of the result, scored his third goal in four games.
Craig Davies has also returned to full fitness and could make his first start since August in this weekend’s cup clash at the Reebok.