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Roker Roundup: Three former Sunderland free transfer trialists find new clubs

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Chris Maguire has been talking about his surprise at Jon McLaughlin’s success, and a trio of former SAFC trialists have all found new clubs to link up with.

Roker Roundup 20/21
Your daily reminder of Sunderland news!

Maguire surprised at McLaughlin success

Jon McLaughlin has had a highly successful start to his career at Rangers since his free transfer move from Sunderland in the summer.

The goalkeeper has equalled a 114-year record for Scottish top flight clean sheets to start the season and McLaughlin’s success has been something of a surprise to his former Sunderland team-mate Chris Maguire.

Maguire explained to the Daily Record that he thought McLaughlin would end up as a back up goalkeeper to first choice Allan McGregor but the former Sunderland ‘keeper instead took his chance, although the forward believes McGregor will eventually recapture the number one shirt:

It has been a surprise to myself and a few of the boys down at Sunderland that Jon has gone there and played but credit to him, he’s kept the clean sheets.

He’s obviously been given a chance with McGregor’s injury and he’s taken it. Now, he can be part of the team who breaks that record for their start to the season.

When we got to Wembley a couple of seasons ago, he was vital to Sunderland.

There were games when he didn’t have much to do but he’d then pull off a great save and keep us in it – getting us a point or three. So Jon has that in him but at the Old Firm it’s even tougher.

Everyone looking at Jon’s move thought he was going to Rangers as a back-up keeper who’d maybe get the odd game.

So fair play to him – he’s taken his opportunity. When a player does that and the team are playing well, it becomes harder for the manager to drop you.

But ultimately, I can still see McGregor getting back in. He’s Rangers’ No.1 and a great goalie. Without being disrespectful to Jon, McGregor has been at Rangers a long time and he is a top keeper.

He’s getting on in years – but he’s still proved to be a key player for them. Even in the last couple of years in big games, he’s saved Rangers at times.

Olympique Lyonnais v Rangers FC - Veolia Trophy Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Steed still playing

Former Sunderland playmaker Steed Malbranque’s playing career is not over yet, with the 40-year-old signing a deal to appear in the French fifth division.

Malbranque was unveiled by FC Limonest Saint-Didier’s sporting director Fabrice Somma and the player will now appear in the Championnat National 3.

He last featured for National 2 outfit Monts d’Or Azergues Foot and left Sunderland after three years in 2011 when he joined Saint-Etienne.

La dernière recrue estivale du directeur sportif Fabrice Somma est un joueur expérimenté ! ✅ En effet , le FCLSD est...

Posted by FCLSD - Football Club Limonest Saint-Didier on Friday, September 4, 2020

Academy product Peter Hartley has signed a one-year deal with Indian Super League side Jamshedspur.

The 32-year-old was a free agent after leaving Motherwell but has now linked up with Owen Coyle at the ISL club and Hartley told the club’s website that he is looking forward to working with the former Bolton and Burnley manager:

I’m honored to be given an opportunity to sign for Jamshedpur, a club with ambition to win. I certainly didn’t have to think twice about playing for Owen Coyle, a manager held in high regard. I promise to give 110% every single day in order to bring success and silverware to the Jamshedpur supporters. At every club that I have played for, my goal has always been to add glory to my jersey number till the day I depart.

Chelsea v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Trio of trialists find new clubs

Three former Sunderland trialists have linked up with new sides ahead of the new league season.

Demetri Mitchell had joined Sunderland on trial in August but left and quickly featured for League One rivals Blackpool on trial and that trial was successful as the 23-year-old has signed a two-year deal with the Seasiders.

Blackburn Rovers youngster Chamba Zinka linked up Sunderland earlier in the year in the hope of earning a deal on Wearside but that was unsuccessful and he has now signed a deal with Cardiff City. The 18-year-old striker will link up with Steve Morison in the Welsh club’s under-23 squad.

Finally, Sunderland had taken Justen Kranthove on trial in January and had an eventful game against Wigan Athletic reserves, as the centre back gave away a penalty and scored a goal, but the 19-year-old Dutch defender has now joined Birmingham City on trial according to the Birmingham Mail.

Blackpool v Blackburn Rovers - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Kevin Barnes - CameraSport via Getty Images