Phil Parkinson’s Sunderland are still in the League One promotion race, with Kyle Lafferty back in form at the Stadium of Light.

Kyle Lafferty has admitted that he would ‘love’ to sign a long-term contract with Sunderland in the summer when he is due to become a free agent, while speaking to the Northern Echo.

An experienced Northern Irishman made a shock return to English shores in January, swapping Sarpsborg for Sunderland on a six-month deal until the end of the 2019/20 season.

After a sluggish start, Lafferty offered a timely reminder of his goal-scoring abilities in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Gillingham.

Making his first start for the Black Cats with Charlie Wyke ruled out through injury, the 32-year-old powered home a Denver Hume cross before slotting a clinical second into the Gills’ net.

A few more performances like this and Lafferty, who is desperate to stay for the long haul on Wearside, will see his wish come true.

“I’d love to stay here,” he said. “I said when I first joined here, if I was given the opportunity in my much younger years I would have come here.

“It’s a massive club and to get the chance to play for this football club at 32 years of age, it’s a nice feeling. The manager gave me a chance and the only way I can repay him is performances and goals.

“Hopefully Saturday’s goals sends me in the right direction.”

The Echo reports that former Rangers, Norwich and Hearts striker Lafferty is set to retain his place in Phil Parkinson’s starting XI for Tuesday night’s trip to Bristol Rovers, despite the fact that Wyke is fit enough to return.

Sunderland have picked up just two points from the last nine available to cast doubt on their automatic promotion hopes. So Lafferty’s return to form could hardly have come at a better time.

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