Sunderland are preparing for their third season in League One by eyeing moves for two experienced players, as reported by the Northern Echo.
The Black cats failed to make the top six after a turbulent season in which Jack Ross lost his job and, to a certain extent, Phil Parkinson lost his way. They struggled for form in the wake of a failed takeover, leading to three successive years outside the top two division for the first time in their history.
As they look to put that right, they’re believed to be targeting two players. One is Baily Wright, the 27-year-old defender who joined on loan from Bristol City in the winter window. Wright was part of Australia’s 23-man squad for the 2014 World Cup and appeared 83 times for the Robins, but just three of those came last season.
The other reported target is former Blackpool midfielder Jay Spearing. He failed to agree on terms with the Tangerines this summer and has left on a free, but is attracting interest from Bolton and Tranmere according to the report. The 31-year-old began his career with Liverpool, making 30 Premier League appearances in four season, before moving on to Bolton.
Spearing is a veteran of 313 senior appearances during his career and would add some experience to the Sunderland central area, even if his capture wouldn’t exactly get fan’s pulses racing.
Bailey Wright would certainly be a good capture at this level and would help to shore up that back four. Sunderland must mount a serious promotion challenge this season, their supporters demand it, and Wright would be a signal of intent.
We’re not so sure about Spearing. He is a workhorse in the middle of the park and he certainly has the experience, but Sunderland need something a little more. His capture would be very underwhelming for supporters and with the likes of George Dobson and Max Power in the squad, there isn’t a pressing need to add more to that area of the squad.
Grant Leadbitter’s return proved that in many respects, going with a tried and tested head in the middle of the park is not always the right thing to do.