Ipswich striker Connor Wickham is expected to undergo a medical with Sunderland within the next 24 hours.

Press Association Sport understands the Black Cats have moved swiftly after submitting a formal offer in excess of £8million for the 18-year-old and plan to carry out the checks as soon as possible.

In addition, Birmingham midfielder Craig Gardner is due on Wearside on Wednesday for talks, with manager Steve Bruce hoping for a major double breakthrough.

Sunderland have made significant progress in the last 24 hours as they attempt to persuade England Under-21 international Wickham that his future lies at the Stadium of Light.

Liverpool's admiration of the teenager is well known, and it is understood Anfield would be his preferred destination, while Arsenal and Tottenham have also been mentioned in dispatches.

However, the Black Cats have thrown down to gauntlet by formalising their interest in the player, and it remains to be seen whether or not their proactive approach proves decisive. Sunderland have no desire to be dragged into a bidding war for Wickham and will hope they have given themselves a head start.

Bruce has been on the Hereford-born youngster's trail for some time as he tries to bolster his attacking resources ahead of the new Barclays Premier League season. He has 72 senior appearances for Town to his name, 35 of them as a substitute, and he scored nine times in last season's npower Championship.

Strikers are perhaps Bruce's main priority with Darren Bent having been sold to Aston Villa in January, Danny Welbeck now back with Manchester United following his loan spell and Fraizer Campbell facing most of the new campaign on the sidelines with a knee injury.

Indeed, Sunderland ended last season with record signing Asamoah Gyan as their only fit and available option in attack, and that is a situation the manager intends to address as a matter of urgency.

South Korea international Ji Dong-won has already been on Wearside to discuss terms, while the Black Cats held talks with Liverpool's David Ngog, initially as they negotiated Jordan Henderson's switch to Merseyside earlier this month. But a successful swoop for a player whose potential has alerted a series of potential suitors would represent a signal of intent.