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Jon McLaughlin appears to be closing in on a move away from Sunderland, with Blackburn Rovers manager Tony Mowbray keen to wrap up a bargain deal as soon as possible, according to the Sun (17 May, page 57).

Black Cats fans always knew this day was coming.

With one of the Football League’s finest shot-stoppers due to become a free end at the end of June, it felt like only a matter of time before McLaughlin would make the step up to Championship level – with or without Sunderland.

Your BEST Former Player Who Wouldn’t Start For Your Current XI

Your BEST Former Player Who Wouldn’t Start For Your Current XI

Phil Parkinson’s side would miss out on promotion if the League One table is decided on a Points Per Game basis. As a result, it seems increasingly unlikely that McLaughlin would be willing to sign fresh terms with a club who looked doomed to a third successive season in the lower reaches of English football.

The Sun claims that Blackburn are keen to complete a deal for the Scotland international with Mowbray, the Middlesbrough legend, confident that the 32-year-old can shine as Rovers’ first-choice goalkeeper.

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If there is one positive for Sunderland fans, however, its that they appear to have a readymade replacement lined up already in League One veteran Lee Burge. The former Coventry City ace has impressed whenever he has been called on by Parkinson.

Then there is homegrown youngster Anthony Patterson, the 19-year-old who has been tipped by some to follow in the footsteps of Sunderland graduate-turned England number one Jordan Pickford.

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In other news, Steven Gerrard predicts success for new Rangers signing Calvin Bassey