Sunderland boss Steve Bruce has confirmed he is looking to strengthen his defence during the January transfer window.
The Black Cats have not kept a clean sheet in the Premier League since November and recently shipped in seven against Chelsea.
Bruce has expressed an interest in Aston Villa full-back Habib Beye as he looks to tighten up his side's leaky defence, with previous target Guy Demel deciding to stay at Hamburg until the end of the season.
With injuries preventing Nyron Nosworthy and Anton Ferdinand from playing, Bruce is hoping something materialises in the coming days.
"That's where we have to improve," Bruce said of his defence. "We've got strength in that area and before the window closes, hopefully we can strengthen again.
"Obviously with the injuries to Nosworthy and Ferdinand, we are very, very short at the moment.
"We're chipping away at various different things and whether something will progress in the next few days, I'm not so sure. But we'll keep trying."
Striker Kenwyne Jones continues to be linked with a move away from the Stadium of Light with Liverpool reportedly in the hunt for the powerful hit-man.
Bruce admits the speculation has been tough on the former Southampton striker and has categorically ruled out the possibility of him leaving on loan.
"It has been difficult for Kenwyne in the last couple of weeks," he continued. "We had a conversation on Friday and he did okay on Saturday - but no more than okay.
"As I've said, what has happened with Liverpool and the question of whether we're going to loan him is quite upsetting.
"But I think I've said my piece about that and it won't happen - that's for sure."