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ROKER ROUNDUP: He was crap for Sunderland, but former loanee has Champions League & PL suitors

Former Sunderland defender Jake Clarke-Salter has, according to reports, received interest from a number of clubs that include established top flight outfits and Champions League clubs.

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Flanagan called up

Sunderland defender Tom Flanagan has been called up by his country after Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill named him in the squad to face Austria and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The 26-year-old replaces Gareth McAuley in the squad and O’Neill hopes Flanagan can take his opportunity in the Nations League double-header:

Gareth isn’t in the squad because he’s not ready, Tom Flanagan can hopefully push on and put pressure on those playing.

It’s in our best interests that Gareth McAuley stays at Rangers. He would be an injury risk and that’s not fair to him or Rangers.

Despite first being called up by O’Neill in August 2016 whilst at Burton Albion, Flanagan has only one cap to his name so far, which came during a 1-0 win over New Zealand in June 2017.

Northern Ireland v New Zealand - International Friendly Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

League One boss ignores Sunderland comparisons

Accrington Stanley are currently level on points with Sunderland in League One but are just being Jack Ross’ side on goal difference.

When asked about the contrasting fortunes of the two sides in recent years, Stanley boss John Coleman admitted that it is hard to believe but insists he is only concentrating on getting his side to challenge as high up the table as he can:

It’s unbelievable but we don’t want to look at other clubs, we want to get ourselves a position where we can challenge.

We always said we wanted to challenge at the top end and not at the bottom end.

Plenty of clubs would have come up and felt sorry for themselves and said we have a little budget, no training facilities and so we will do well to stay up.

But if you are going to do that then don’t bother entering the league. If you are entering the league and your only thought is survival then you shouldn’t be in the league in my view.

Accrington Stanley v Huddersfield Town - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Clint Hughes/Getty Images

Former loanee in demand

Chelsea youngster Jake Clarke-Salter had a torrid time whilst on loan at Sunderland last season, including getting sent off in two consecutive games.

This season the 21-year-old is on loan in the Eredivisie with Vitesse Arnhem and has been receiving plaudits for his displays for the Dutch side.

Those displays have drawn admiring glances from other clubs according to former Sky Sports reporter Pete O’Rourke, with Burnley and Fulham, as well as Bundesliga duo Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen all showing interest in the England under-21 international.