On-loan Albion defender Alex Cochrane is a target for Sunderland after Denver Hume was ruled out for two months with a hamstring injury.

The 20-year-old is currently on loan from the Seagulls at Belgium second division side Union St Gilloise.

However, the Argus understands that Sunderland have initiated talks with Albion with Lee Johnson looking to sign a left back before the transfer window closes.

Cochrane has started Union’s last five games, but his deal includes a recall clause that enables the Seagulls to cut short their arrangement this month in order to loan the youngster elsewhere.

Sunderland will argue that Cochrane’s development would be better served by a spell in League One rather than another five months in the Belgian lower leagues.

But Johnson has spoken about his need for another option in Hume’s absence.

He said: “I think we have to consider (signing a left-back), absolutely,” said Johnson. “We have a good left-back (McFadzean) and a couple who can play there, but there are so many games, so it has to be a consideration for us.

“Either that, or we have to find one from within our ranks, and I can’t see one there at the moment.”