'He'll be in the first team squad for pre-season' - Sunderland sporting director on Town transfer target

Josh Hawkes signed for Sunderland from Hartlepool in 2020

Ipswich Town are understood to be considering a move for young Sunderland attacking midfielder Josh Hawkes - Credit: SAFC

Sunderland sporting director Kristjaan Speakman says Ipswich Town target Josh Hawkes will get his chance in the Black Cats' first team next season.

We exclusively revealed last week that Town were looking at three Sunderland players - young attacker Hawkes, 31-goal striker Charlie Wyke and recently-released midfielder Max Power.

Hawkes, a 22-year-old attacking midfielder who can play centrally or in a wide role, has impressed in Sunderland’s Under 23 side this season, topping the Premier League 2 Division 2 scoring charts this season with 13 goals in 19 starts. 

But he's only made one senior appearance for the Black Cats and is understood to be keen on a move due to a lack of first team opportunities.

However, speaking on Sunderland's club podcast, Speakman said Hawkes is very much in their plans for 2021/22.

He said: "Josh's performances with goals and assists has been really, really good.

"He's right up there in both charts. A player at his age now, he needs to be able to come into the first-team environment. He's trained an awful lot with the first-team.

"He's not quite managed to squeeze himself onto the starting XI, which speaks probably more about the quality in the team than to say Josh has fallen short.

Sunderland's Charlie Wyke with the match ball after the Sky Bet League One match at the Stadium of L

Sunderland striker Charlie Wyke is also thought to be a Town target - Credit: PA

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"Myself and Lee (Johnson, Sunderland boss) are watching almost all the games, Josh has performed really really well and he'll be in the first-team squad for pre-season.

"Every player is different and what we've tried to do is structure it so that he's been across training with the first-team quite a lot and he understands what the requirement is.

"Naturally there's going to be a reshuffle of the squad in the summer and pre-season provides those players with a great opportunity to get involved in the games and perform.

"That's the next step he needs to take."

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