Wanderers are bracing themselves for an approach from Premier League rivals Sunderland for club skipper Kevin Davies.

The Bolton News understands Black Cats boss Martin O’Neill has put the experienced front man at the top of his shortlist, as he tries to find a replacement for the injured Nicklas Bendtner.

With Bendtner likely to be missing for at least three weeks because of a serious facial injury sustained against Swansea City last weekend, the Irishman finds himself in desperate need of a target man Sunderland are already short on firepower.and O’Neill could be willing to offer Davies the 18-month deal he craves to tempt him to the North East.

Owen Coyle has made it publicly known that he does not want to lose the 34-year-old, who has been key to Wanderers’ fortunes for nearly nine years. But with Davies’ first team opportunities now becoming more limited, he could yet reluctantly allow him to leave should the right cash offer come along.

Premier League rivals Wolves and SPL Glasgow giants Rangers and Celtic are also monitoring the situation but would prefer a loan deal.

Sources in the Midlands have also refused to rule out West Brom as a possible destination, as Roy Hodgson – who signed Davies for £7million at Blackburn earlier in his career – is also looking for a target man.

It seems unlikely, however, that former Reebok boss Sam Allardyce will move for the player he rescued from the doldrums in 2003 and take him to West Ham.

Davies admitted last week he did not know what was in store after falling out of Coyle’s Premier League plans since the derby victory over Blackburn Rovers in December.

He said: “I have no idea what my future will be,” he said. “Obviously I am disappointed not to be playing. But my performances haven’t been good enough to stay in the team.”

The player’s wife, Emma, claimed last night on her official Twitter feed that the family were happy to remain in Bolton.

“He (Kevin) is not unhappy at Bolton. He loves Bolton and his preference is to stay but it is not his decision.

“He would love to stay but it doesn’t work like that in football.”

Sunderland have only youngsters Connor Wickham and Ji Dong Won to fall back on in Bendtner’s absence, and though they are currently trialling Bosnia and Herzegovina striker Zlatan Muslimovic, there is some concern over whether he has had enough football to be plunged straight into action.