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Tranmere manager Mike Jackson is thrilled to beat Sunderland to the signing of local lad Jay Spearing, hailing ‘a leader’ with an ‘unbelievable appetite for football’ on the Rovers’ official website.

While the Black Cats have made excellent use of a free agent market so far this summer, signing Bailey Wright and Aiden O’Brien while targeting Scott Fraser, Luke Garbutt and Arbenit Xhemalji, not everything has gone their way.

The Northern Echo reported back in July that Sunderland had entered talks to sign former Liverpool youngster Spearing.

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Not only was the 31-year-old firmly established as one of League One’s finest midfielders, he also has an admirer in the shape of Phil Parkinson.

During their time together at Bolton Wanderers, Parkinson described Spearing as an ‘immense’ presence in the centre of the park due to his relentless work ethic and natural-born leadership skills.

But, with just weeks remaining until the 2020/21 season kicks off, it is another coach singing Spearing’s praises.

 “I am delighted. There has been a lot of hard work that has been put in to get the deal over the line,” Jackson said after the Wirrall-born veteran agreed to join Tranmere.

“We have got someone who is a leader, he sets standards and he is a winner. He will be great in the dressing room, he will set the standard like some of the other lads here already.

“I am made up. He lives in the area; his Nan actually lives very close to the training ground. He knows the people, he knows what it means to represent Tranmere Rovers.

“He still has an unbelievable appetite for football, and that is what you want. For a first signing, I couldn’t ask for anymore.”

In truth, there are other areas of Sunderland’s squad more in need of reinforcement.

Parkinson already has a number of players capable of doing the dirty week in midfield, from George Dobson to Max Power, Josh Scowen to Luke O’Nien.

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