Sunderland chairman and manager Niall Quinn has confirmed the club have approached Aston Villa about former striker Kevin Phillips and are now awaiting a decision on his future from new boss Martin O'Neill.
O'Neill took over the Villa Park hot seat last Friday and is in the process of finding out who wants to stay and who he feels can leave ahead of the new Premiership campaign.
In the meantime Quinn is waiting in the wings to see if his 33-year-old former strike partner, Phillips, will get the green light to return to the Stadium of Light, where he scored 132 goals in six seasons.
Quinn said: "What we're not going to do is tap the player up. We're not going to go behind anybody's backs. We've played the game from the moment we first got in touch with Aston Villa.
"They have asked us to wait. It's now got to the stage where I think Martin O'Neill spoke to the players as a group and, from what we're led to believe having spoken to Aston Villa yesterday, he will assess the situation again in around a week.
"If it doesn't come off, it doesn't come off, but we will not be going tapping the player up and we're not going behind people's backs. We're just waiting for Aston Villa, but it would be great if it comes off."