It looks like a second signing for SAFC could be imminent as striker Chris Maguire is due for a medical on Wearside today. The 29 year old is a Scottish international and was a former Oxford player so both the new owners and the manager will be keen for this one to go through. Maguire is currently under contract with Bury and has a year left on his current deal so a nominal fee will be involved.
Maguire could be joined by AFC Wimbledon's Lyle Taylor. The club have reportedly entered advanced talks with the forward and his representatives as we look to steal a march on his many suitors. The Montserrat international scored 18 goals last season in League One and, despite not being Scottish in any way, is available on a free so it's one box ticked at least.
In other news, it looks like the deal to take want-away midfielder Paddy McNair to Boro is now back on after the clubs had agreed a fee but Boro took the huff as they thought we were touting him around to get a higher bid. SAFC owner Stewart Donald explained: “The club hasn’t accepted any bids other than from Middlesbrough. The agent is trying to see what other clubs are interested – I can’t stop that. Sunderland have done nothing wrong.We had an acceptable bid from and said you can speak to the player, nothing more nothing less.”
Meanwhile, we're looking at bringing in Hearts stopper Jon McLaughlin as we try to fill the hole left by the departure of Steele and Camp. It'll be a welcome move as I'm sure Jon can't do any worse than the lads he's coming in to replace. He's also Scottish and available on a free to it's pretty much nailed on.
Finally, our proposed loan move for Celtic winger Lewis Morgan is looking less likely as the former St Mirren player sounds like he's staying at Celtic Park. He said: “I had a wee chat with the manager and he welcomed me and was saying what he expected of me. He wants me to really kick on in pre-season and try and get into his thoughts. I’ve always had that belief within myself anyway. I know it’s a tough task, the squad here is full of quality, and it’s going to be tough to break into it, but I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think I could add something to the team.”
Sunderland assistant manager James Fowler reckons we've got everything needed to be a Premier League club, in terms of facilities that is: “You think of Sunderland as a big club. But until you’re here and seen the facilities, you don’t fully appreciate it," explained Fowler. "The recovery pools, gyms, undersoil heating on the training pitch – they probably take stuff like that for granted. It’s not like Scotland! Then you go to the stadium and see the size of it. It’s where you want to be as a coach. As a player, you want to play at the highest level and it should be the same in management.”
The Lads will find themselves in the third tier of English football for only the second time when the season kicks off in around 6 weeks time and Fowler knows that's not where a club of this size belongs: "Being in League One isn’t ideal for the club, but we’re here to do a job. When we first came in, we just thought: ‘Wow.’ I’ve had loads of texts and messages from people who want a job here – even as our groundsman or bus driver. That’s because they know how positive we are about the place. We felt at home straight away. It’s a massive job to get this club back in the Premier League. We missed out on that level as players. But as coaches it’s a possibility. We’re ambitious and everything’s in place here to be a Premier League club. We know where it can go and it excites us.”
SAFC's second in command went on to explain the close relationship he now has with the gaffer Jack Ross: “Jack and I didn’t have much of a relationship prior to working together at St Mirren. We knew each other because he’s from Falkirk and I’m from Stirling. But it wasn’t like we were buddies who’d text or phone each other. We’d have a chat and discuss my next move. Obviously, he kept that in mind when he joined St Mirren. And we did click fairly quickly. “You never know how things will work out, but, if you look at the results and performances, we’ve worked fairly well as a team. Even our families are close now – our wives and kids get on well too. When you’re working so closely with someone – and you put in the hours that we do – you strike up a relationship. We’ve lived and worked in each other’s pockets for two seasons. We’ve spent a lot of time together, with a unit of staff behind us. We need to recreate that at Sunderland. Everyone has to feel they’re playing their part and pulling their weight. If we do that hopefully we’ll get the same outcomes. Jack’s management of people is one of the most impressive things about him. You always have a turnaround of staff and players, but his door is always open and he doesn’t shy away from that side of it. He tries to get everyone pulling in the same direction.”