Sunderland's Phil Bardsley to be loaned out once he returns

The Journal understands that Bardsley has attracted the interest of five Championship clubs and will leave Sunderland during October

Phil Bardsley
Phil Bardsley

Phil Bardsley will head out on loan in mid-October as Sunderland look to recoup a transfer fee for the Scotland defender in the January transfer window

And the Scotland international has been told to go out on loan to get match practice as soon as he recovers from the broken foot which ended the prospect of a summer move for the right-back.

Bardsley returned to the Black Cats this week after a fortnight’s suspension for ill-advised comments posted on social network site Instagram. He apologised in a club statement that was released on Tuesday evening.

The 28-year-old was included in the club’s 25-man squad but it appears unlikley that he will play for the Black Cats again – especially under the stewardship of Paolo Di Canio.

He has been told to find a loan move as soon as he recovers from the injury sustained in an under-21 game at the start of August, and will then be sold in January.

Bardsley is currently scheduled to return in the second week of October, which would be the trigger for a move to the second tier. Ipswich Town are one of several Championship clubs who have enquired about the defender.

As Sunderland prepare to bid farewell to one Scotland international, they are maintaining a close watch on another defender plying his trade north of the border.

As revealed in the Journal last month, the club are interested in youthful Dundee United pair Ryan Gauld and defender John Souttar – who they made a £400,000 offer for during the summer transfer window.

That bid was rejected but the Black Cats remain interested and dispatched scouts to watch Ricky Sbragia’s Scotland under-19 side draw 1-1 with Iceland on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Di Canio’s methods have been defended by striker Connor Wickham.

Sunderland’s return of one point from a possible nine has seen a crop of critics questioning Di Canio’s methods but England under-21 forward Wickham says there is a definite method behind his approach.

He has defended the focus on fitness that was Di Canio’s priority during the summer and says there has been meticulous care in the way the club’s summer recruits have been integrated.

The forward says the new players have settled straight into the Sunderland dressing room and despite the upheaval caused by 13 new players in the Black Cats camp, they have slotted straight into the set-up.

He said: “The manager’s explained why he’s done everything, he’s not just doing it to be a horrible person, it’s to benefit us, now and in the long run.

“I don’t mind doing all the fitness stuff anyway, because I’m quite fit.

“Communication is good, all the players speak English. The banter’s going, there’s confidence and a good vibe in the dressing room.

“The gaffer made it clear to us that everybody needs to bond. We’re not going to be able to move forward unless there’s a bond in the team, especially with new players.

“There was never any doubt that they were going to fit straight in. We went away during the summer for a long time together, so we’ve gelled together and we all know what we’re about.

“There were never any mishaps or miscommunication issues in the team, the new signings have all fitted straight in.

“There’s a lot of different languages in the changing room now but everyone’s bonded together nicely.

“I don’t think anyone’s an outcast of any kind, the team’s bonded quite well.”

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