PROMISING Sunderland keeper Jordan Pickford has returned to the Stadium of Light after the Black Cats opted against extending his loan spell at Bradford City.
Pickford kept nine clean sheets in 33 League One starts for Bradford after joining the Bantams on loan last summer.
But having turned 21 on Saturday, Pickford was no longer eligible for a youth loan and Sunderland would have needed to strike a fresh emergency loan deal with Bradford.
If Sunderland had done that, the Black Cats would have lost the 24-hour recall clause on the stopper for the next month and been left with little recover for first-team keepers Costel Pantilimon and Vito Mannone.
Sunderland have decided on a safety-first approach and brought Pickford back to Wearside for the remainder of the campaign.
Bradford boss Phil Parkinson said: “We are obviously disappointed to lose Jordan but we always knew that there was the possibility of him being recalled at some point.
Jordan has been brilliant for us since coming to the club and he has been a pleasure to work with.Phil Parkinson
“Jordan has been brilliant for us since coming to the club and he has been a pleasure to work with.
“We’d like to thank him for all his efforts throughout this season and wish him all the very best for the future.”
Pickford should have reaped the rewards from his spell at Valley Parade in his first taste of League One football after previous loans at Carlisle, Burton, Alfreton and Darlington.
The boyhood Sunderland fan is highly-rated by the Black Cats and signed a fresh contract during the summer which keeps him at the club until 2018.