Three Barnsley stars potential Sunderland appointment Paul Heckingbottom could bring to the Stadium of Light

Paul Heckingbottom manager of Barnsley

Could the former Sunderland defender return to the Stadium of Light from Barnsley?

Paul Heckingbottom manager of BarnsleyBarnsley bossPaul Heckingbottom

Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom is the latest name to be linked with the vacant Sunderland manager's job [Echo].

The 39-year-old has led the Tykes to the Football League Trophy, promotion via the League One play-offs and 14th in the Championship in his 15 months in charge, so it's perhaps little surprise to see him mentioned in connection with bigger clubs.

However, next season could be a struggle for Heckingbottom, whose better players continue to be prised away from Oakwell, and a move to Sunderland - where he began his professional career - could appeal to the boyhood Barnsley fan.

If he was to land the Stadium of Light gig, could the following Tykes stars follow?

Marc Roberts

Marc Roberts of Barnsley in action

Heckingbottom's captain at Barnsley, the 26-year-old is said to be on the radar of clubs such as West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa - who are reportedly ready to bid £5 million for him this summer - after an impressive first season at Championship level. And with Joleon Lescott, John O'Shea and Jason Denayer [loan] all out of contract and Lamine Kone likely to have interest from other clubs, Sunderland could be in need of another centre-back.

Josh Scowen

Barnsley's Josh Scowen in a action with Blackpool's Will Aimson

Another impressive Championship debutant, the 24-year-old has already stated his intention to leave Oakwell for free next month, with several Premier League and second tier sides said to be circling. A tenacious midfielder such as Scowen could be high on Sunderland's agenda, with Jan Kirchhoff looking set to depart. 

Marley Watkins

Barnsley's Marley Watkins celebrates scoring his sides first goal

The 26-year-old will follow Scowen out of Barnsley this summer, having also reached the end of his contract. Having scored 10 goals and created nine in his maiden Championship campaign, Watkins is also not short of admirers, with Norwich City strongly linked. With Adnan Januzaj, Steven Pienaar and Wahbi Khazri all seemingly on their way out of Sunderland, the Welshman could be a shrewd recruit.

Which Barnsley players would you like to see at Sunderland?

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