To me it totally depends on how ambitious we are in the summer.
I don’t think that there’s any doubt that Pritchard can contribute to us next season, but what I think is important is whether we feel we can replace him with someone better.
We’ve been repeatedly linked with Bradley Dack, who is someone Mowbray knows well, is available on a free in the summer, and plays the same position as Pritch.
Let’s say we want to bring him in - is there still a place for Alex? Probably not.
We aren’t going to pay good money for anyone older than 22 or 23, so that weighed up with the fact we need to maintain an experienced core of quality players means anyone we bring in that is a little bit older will likely be on a free transfer.
I guess this applies to all players and not just Pritchard, but their future at Sunderland ultimately depends on our ability to replace them with someone better.
At this stage of his career I think he needs to be playing games regularly, and I think he’d agree. If he’s going to play fewer games next season, it may be decided that allowing him to leave is the best thing for all parties.
I’d like to see him stay, but if there are better options, my loyalty would be tested.
Malc Dugdale says...
Pritchard is thirty next month but we’re a young and up-and-coming team, especially in the middle of the park. Other than a select group of players back to front, we need real experience too.
In the absence of Corry Evans, there have been games where Pritchard has been a very rare aged head through the middle, and in games against stronger opponents, we need that experience for the street smarts and confidence angle at times.
Danny Batth, Luke O’Nien, Ross Stewart, Patrick Roberts and Lynden Gooch are all of that ilk but none of them bring what Pritch does and some of them are out injured for a while yet.
He understands the club, he can bring an attacking threat when on form and he’s a good mentor and role model for the players we’re nurturing to eventually supersede him. A couple of more years for him to help us on the journey, both on and off the pitch, is a no-brainer for me.
If people step up soon enough he can still be that seasoned pro in the changing room and can curl in the odd screamer from the bench.
Matthew Crichton says...
For me, although he has a part to play for the remainder of this season, I think his days at Sunderland are numbered despite having a contract extension.
In League One, he was a brilliant addition to the squad.
To sign a player on a free who’d been bought for over £10m twice was great and despite a slow start, he became a reliable and experienced head who was a regular creator.
Having said that, while he still has a clever pass in him to unlock a defence, I think his lack of mobility has been exposed more at this level and also the quality of our options has vastly improved.
With a fully fit Amad, Patrick Roberts and Jack Clarke, Pritchard doesn’t get a kick and I think even his numbers compared to theirs (Roberts aside) are far lower in terms of goals and assists.
Of course we’re going to lose Amad, but I think that’ll be a position replaced rather than filled by a player we already have.
Given Pritchard’s age, you’d imagine that he’s one of Sunderland’s highest earners in a very young squad and I think if we’re going to have higher earners, they have to be players who are going to start and help us to compete for the playoffs, something which I don’t see in Pritchard moving forward.