By Wayne Veysey

11th Jan, 2021 | 2:48pm

Exclusive: EFL duo set sights on signing Sunderland midfielder this month

Carlisle United and Forest Green Rovers have set their sights on signing Sunderland midfielder Dan Neil, Football Insider can reveal.

The 19-year-old was handed his first-team debut in November but new manager Lee Johnson has hinted he could be allowed to leave on loan.

A recruitment source has told Football Insider the League Two duo are working on deals to land the rising star on a temporary deal this month.

Johnson told the Sunderland Echo at the weekend there was a “possibility” Neil could leave the Stadium of Light in January.

He said: “It’s the ones like Dan Neil who you look at, who I really like, but you look at his chances which might be limited between now and the end of the season and that becomes a possibility.”

The midfielder signed a three-year deal with his boyhood club in the summer and is highly-rated by the Black Cats.

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He is the captain of the club’s Under-23 side and has featured in three EFL Trophy games this term.

However, the South Shields-born ace could be set to drop down a division in search of regular first-team football.

Both Carlisle and Forest Green are chasing automatic promotion out of League Two with Carlisle currently one point clear at the top of the division.

Rovers meanwhile sit in third, the final automatic promotion place, and just a point behind Carlisle.

In other news, Kevin Phillips has been left wowed by Sunderland’s reported swoop for a striker and insisted it “could be a great signing”.