READING FC are close to sealing a loan deal for Aston Villa defender Tommy Elphick.

The 30-year-old is believed to be on his way to Madejski Stadium until the end of the season after struggling for games under Villa boss Steve Bruce.

Bruce told the Birmingham Mail: "It looks as if he's going to Reading. I thought it was right for Tommy, I can't give him what he wants."

Elphick would become Jaap Stam's first signing in the January transfer window.

He has made only four Championship appearances for Villa this season plus two in the Carabao Cup when he was sent off in 2-0 second-round defeat to Middlesbrough.

He joined Villa from Bournemouth for around £3m in summer 2016 and made 26 league appearances during his first campaign in the Midlands.

But Elphick has been forced to take a back seat this season after falling behind John Terry and James Chester in the pecking order.

Meanwhile, Sunderland manager Chris Coleman is said to have pulled out of the race to sign Chris Martin from Derby County.

Royals and Black Cats are among those chasing the 29-year-old striker, with Rams willing to loan him out after landing Cameron Jerome from Norwich City.

Reading boss Stam has spoken openly about his pursuit of Martin and is now hoping to tie up a deal before Wednesday’s transfer deadline.