Sunderland have made positive progress in their re-started contract talks with Jack Colback as they look to tie one of the heroes of their Capital One Cup run to a new long-term deal.
The Journal understands Colback is the only one of Sunderland’s out-of-contract players who has opened formal talks on an extension to his deal, which runs out at the end of the campaign. While Craig Gardner is resigned to finding a new club, Phil Bardsley and Seb Larsson are hoping to stay at the Stadium of Light and play a further part in Gus Poyet’s plans for new season.
However, it is Colback whom they are keen to tie down to a new deal, with Poyet having been especially impressed by the midfielder’s attitude and ability in a role which he sees as crucial to Sunderland’s future success.
There is understood to be a preliminary agreement which would keep Colback out of the hands of a number of Premier League suitors, with Everton one of the clubs who have checked on his availability in recent months.
Sunderland hope to tie something up before their final date at Wembley.
The Journal has also learned Sunderland are keen to tie up deals for Ki Sung-Yueng and Marcos Alonso – but recognise they will have to wait until the end of the season and a resolution to their relegation fight.
In the meantime, the club were still letting the dust settle on their magnificent cup run, with the Black Cats announcing ticketing details for the final.
They have guaranteed every season ticket holder a ticket after being handed an allocation of 31,000 and the east side of Wembley.
Demand is likely to far outstrip supply for the tickets as Sunderland spy an opportunity to end a trophy drought which has stretched back to 1973.
Poyet will give the players who started at Old Trafford the weekend off against Kidderminster and has declared himself “proud” of their efforts.
He said: “I was proud of my team because before the game you plan, you do things, you convince the players, but then it’s up to the players to go out and perform.
“They made me proud because of the way we played, the way we tried to go for the game.
“We passed the ball better than maybe in many games we’ve played this season and it was at Old Trafford. The more we played in front of the fans, the more we pushed forward.
“I was calm, of course, because of that.
“Then you want to win and it was nice to finish in a different way because we were able to get though.”
Defender Wes Brown today reflected on an incredible evening and hailed the strength of character which saw the Wearsiders endure on an epic night.
He said: “We’ve done well, especially in the last 11 games, although we did get beat on Wednesday.
“We knew it was going to be difficult but as long as we played out of our skins we had a chance and we managed to get the goal we needed.
“There was only about a minute to go when they scored and it was very disappointing then.
“It was a low blow to not go through there and then.
“However, it went to penalties and we managed to scrape through. The lads are buzzing and I hope all the supporters are too.”