BURNLEY defender Jimmy Dunne is set to join League One promotion chasers Sunderland on loan for the rest of the season.

The 21-year-old came through 90 minutes for the Clarets Under-23s in Monday's defeat to Sheffield Wednesday having recovered from an ankle injury which curtailed what had been a successful loan spell at Scottish Premiership side Hearts.

The Irishman returned to East Lancashire in November having made 14 appearances north of the border and, having spent the second half of last season on loan with Accrington Stanley, the centre back is keen to keep playing football.

And Sunderland, in the thick of a League One promotion chase, appear to have won the race for Dunne's signature with a deal set to be complete in the next 24 hours.

Asked about the potential arrival of Dunne, Black Cats boss Jack Ross, speaking after his side's Checkatrade Trophy win over Newcastle United Under-23s, said: “I would hope that in the next 24 hours we would be able to confirm an addition defensively.

“I've always said, until it's done, dusted, registered (I'll be cautious) but I'm hopeful that will be the case."

Meanwhile, the Clarets have reportedly rebuffed Preston North End's advances for goalkeeper Joe Hart.

The Championship side were linked with a loan move for the 31-year-old who has recently lost his place to Tom Heaton having previously been interested in the Clarets captain.

Heaton is expected to retain his place in the Burnley side for the visit of Fulham in the Premier League this weekend and, with Nick Pope now fit after a shoulder injury, Clarets chief Sean Dyche has a selection dilemma on the horizon.

Speaking after the FA Cup win over Barnsley last weekend, in which Pope played 90 minutes, he said he felt the 26-year-old needed more time on his comeback trail.

With three England internationals on the books there remains the possibility that one could leave the club during the January transfer window.