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Promising Sunderland ‘keeper joins Darlo on loan - like Pickford, could it be the making of him?

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Irish stopper James Talbot has left Elliott Dickman’s Sunderland U23s side to join up with Darlington FC on a long-term loan deal.

National League North side Darlington FC have confirmed the loan signing of Sunderland’s Republic of Ireland youth international goalkeeper James Talbot on a deal until the end of next April.

The County Durham side have been without a number one after ex-Gateshead goalie Adam Bartlett left to join back up with former Sunderland player Martin Gray at York City, and Talbot will compete alongside Ed Wilczynski for the number one shirt at Blackwell Meadows.

Speaking to Darlington’s official website, manager Tommy Wright said:

James is a very talented Irish international goalkeeper whom I came across recently whilst watching the Sunderland under 23s play Leicester City.

He got his clean sheet on the night. I stood behind his goal in the second half and his communication and positioning were superb. He was very confident claiming his crosses and he distributed the ball very well.

He continued:

We again now have two quality goalkeepers whom I expect to really push each other for the shirt. A special mention must go to reserve keeper Matty Bancroft who over the last few weeks has filled the number two role and looks a real prospect for the future.

On behalf of Darlington FC, I would like to thank Chris Coleman, Robbie Stockdale and Kevin Ball in particular for sanctioning this loan. Also an even bigger thank you to my board of directors for providing the funds to make it happen.

Talbot - who has represented his country at U16, U17 and U19 level - is perhaps one of the most promising players in the entire system at Sunderland and the hope will be that this spell away on loan at a competitive level of football will be the making of him.

The Irishman follows in the footsteps of fellow Sunderland academy product and goalkeeper Jordan Pickford - who spent a spell on loan with the Quakers back in the 2011-12 season - and like the now-England international, Talbot will be hoping that a successful stint of playing for Darlington will give him a fantastic footing as he bids to eventually become part of the first team here over the coming years.

Talbot goes straight into Tommy Wright’s squad for this Saturday’s home clash with ‘class of 92’ owned Salford City and will be hoping to make a huge impression should be be gifted an opportunity to start.

Could a move away to play ‘proper’ football be the making of him? Let’s wait and see.