Sunderland hint for Shankland?
Sunderland have been consistently linked with Ayr United striker Lawrence Shankland over the last year and he is set to move on with his contract expiring at Somerset Park at the end of the month.
Speaking to BBC Scotland, his manager at Ayr, Ian McCall, has given a hint that Sunderland may still be in the running for the 23-year-old:
McCall believes he needs to go to a club where he will play, with one club in Scotland and two in England - one being mentioned as a sleeping giant - vying for his signature:
He has to go to a club where he will play.
There may be the option of a very, very big club, but would he play there every week, to take that next step and kick on again?
One of them, it’s a club in Scotland and you need to be really mentally strong, that’s something I think Lawrence has, but the only way you find that is if you go through it. You can’t predict that, it’s something you have to live through to find out if you have it.
There are a couple of pretty sizeable clubs in England where I’m pretty sure he would play. One in particular would suit him, a sleeping giant type club.
He has three now to choose from. If his mentality is as good as it can be, which he’ll need if he goes to a big club, he can be as good as any of them [strikers in the Scotland squad].
He scores goals with his right foot from 25 yards, with his left foot from 20 yards, he scores tap-ins, headers. He’s so fit and strong. I’m not even sure if he’s best as a number nine or number 10.
He’s not even close to how good he could be. Coming through at Aberdeen, he’s had loans that didn’t work out and he’s quite a complex boy.
Technically, people don’t realise what he’s got. He can drop off, find passes with left or right foot that gifted midfielders see. Or he can play right up in the box. It doesn’t matter where it falls to him, he can create space for himself in a second.
Academy coach departs
Sunderland’s head of coaching at the Academy of Light, Mark Atkinson, has left the club to join local rivals Newcastle United.
Newcastle fan Atkinson is set to be appointed as assistant to their head of coaching Ben Dawson, who recently took over that role from his previous position as coach of the club’s under-23 side.
Atkinson had been at the club for eight years, working his way up from academy scout until he was appointed academy head Paul Reid to the head of coaching role last year.
Rivals target academy product
Sunderland academy product Alex Gorrin is out of contract with Motherwell at the end of the month but his displays with the club have to led to a number of clubs looking to sign the midfielder on a free.
The Spaniard had already been linked with Championship sides Wigan, Millwall, Bristol City and Blackburn Rovers but now Sunderland’s League One rivals Ipswich Town and Portsmouth are said to be interested.
Gorrin has starred in a defensive midfield role for Motherwell, so much so that the 25-year-old was one of the best ball-winners in Europe this season. He has averaged 9.75 interceptions per 90 minutes, with the best from the Top 5 leagues being the 8.48 averaged by Philipp Bargfrede of Bundesliga side Werder Bremen.