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ROKER ROUNDUP: Sunderland target discusses future as Barry Fry wades in on Naismith ‘interest’

Lewis Morgan speaks our about transfer rumours; Barry Fry wades in on Sunderland’s transfer business, and Pickford remains wary of former team-mate.

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Morgan concentrating on Celtic

Celtic’s Lewis Morgan has been mooted as a potential target for new Sunderland boss Jack Ross. Morgan thrived at St Mirren under Ross, so much so that the young winger earned a move to Celtic Park in January, with Celtic loaning the 21-year-old back to the Buddies until the end of the season.

Although he was expected to challenge for a place in Celtic’s first team squad for the forthcoming season, the player has been heavily linked with a loan move to the Stadium of Light. Despite the rumours, Morgan is keen to concentrate on his future with Celtic:

I’ve already been out on loan, I had one at St Mirren in the second half of last season, although people might not see it like that. I’m not as young as people might think either, so it’s time for me to stake a claim and show why Celtic signed me in the first place.

I’m not sure if there is any truth in it. It’s not something I’m focusing on - I’m only focusing on Celtic.

The only thing in my head is going into Celtic pre-season, starting on Monday and impressing, I don’t have any eyes on any other club and why should I? It’s one of the biggest clubs in the world I’m at. I’m only focused on Celtic.

I suppose you never really know with football, but the plan is for me to go in there in pre-season and try and really stake my own claim to get in the team.

I know that’s going to be hard and I’ve said many times that you’ve got to respect the players that are there. I’m going in to try and prove why I’m there and how I can get into that Celtic XI.

Peru v Scotland -International Friendly Photo by Leonardo Fernandez/Getty Images

Fry contradicts Sunderland owner

Peterborough recently signed Ross County right-back Jason Naismith - a player who had been rumoured to be on Jack Ross’ summer shortlist. After the London Road side had completed the move, a fan asked Stewart Donald on Twitter how we had been beaten to his signing, with Donald replying: “We can’t be beaten to a signing of a player we don’t want to sign”.

Peterborough’s Director of Football Barry Fry disputed that version of event, however, claiming both Sunderland and Aberdeen attempted to gazump his side to the signing of the 23-year-old:

He will be the best right-back the club has ever had.

He was a top target of the manager and we are delighted to get the deal over the line, especially as Sunderland and Aberdeen made late moves to prise him away from us.

Jason and his father turned up at our training ground on Tuesday (June 12) at 10am and I locked the doors so he couldn’t escape. We got the deal done about 7pm.

He is very highly rated north of the border. He was the best right-back in their Premier League last season.

Peterborough United v Leicester City - The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Transfer gossip

Sunderland are one of a number of clubs interested in signing transfer listed Peterborough winger Marcus Maddison.

Maddison was made available for transfer - with a reported release clause of £2.5m - after the Posh failed to get promoted to the Championship last season, thanks to a promise made by their chairman Darragh MacAnthony.

That may suggest that is keen to play at a higher level, rather than join a rival League One club, and according to the Reading Chronicle that could well be the case, with Derby County and Nottingham Forest said to be leading the chase for the 24-year-old.

Luton Town v Peterborough United - EFL Checkatrade Trophy Third Round

If Maddison were to join Sunderland, it would likely be as a replacement for Irish international Aiden McGeady, however.

McGeady is one of a number of players who will be looking to move on following relegation to League One, with a need to get the wage bill down ahead of a comprehensive rebuild. Sunderland are, according to former Sky Sports reporter Pete O’Rourke, open to offers for the winger and that has caught the attention of Bristol City.

City boss Lee Johnson is looking to strengthen out wide this summer and it’s thought that McGeady is on his wanted list.

Queens Park Rangers v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Jack Thomas/Getty Images

Pickford wary of Khazri

Sunderland academy product Jordan Pickford is set to make his World Cup bow for England in their opening match against Tunisia on Monday evening.

Ahead of the game, Pickford has been talking about the African side and mentioned how wary he will have to be of his former Sunderland team-mate Wahbi Khazri - particularly from the playmaker’s dangerous set pieces;

I played with Wahbi at Sunderland, so if I get the nod, I’ve got to be ready for his corners because he doesn’t mind whipping them under the crossbar.

He is very good at set-pieces and finishing from outside the box, so I have to be ready.

Khazri had been doubtful for the game due to injury, but after missing the end of Rennes’ season and Tunisia’s friendlies in the build up to the World Cup, the 27-year-old is likely to be passed fit enough to lead the line for the ‘Cartharge Lions’. Hopefully, Pickford will more than match the threat posed by the mercurial forward.

Sunderland v Swansea City - Premier League Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images