Shrewsbury Town boss confirms Sunderland defender joined on a free transfer

Tom Flanagan says the opportunity to get long-term security was the driving force behind his deadline-day move to Shrewsbury Town.

Sunderland Sporting Director Kristjaan Speakman said on the SAFC Unfiltered podcast on Thursday that the 30-year-old had been allowed to leave as his game time was going to be limited in the closing months of the campaign.

He also revealed that the Black Cats had been targeting another arrival, but two 'significant' permanent bids and 3/4 loan options fell short on deadline day.

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Flanagan said it was a move that worked for personal reasons, and that he believed he could push for promotion at his new club next season.

Sunderland defender Tom Flanagan

"I’m pleased to get it over the line and I’m just looking forward to getting off to a good start," Flanagan said.

"It was fairly late on from Sunderland’s behalf but I knew that I wanted a bit of security and I spoke to Albie [Aaron Wilbraham] at the club here and he sold it to me; I thought this is what I want to happen and this is where I want to be, so we made it happen.

“They're [the facilities] really good.

The training ground is lovely and I’ve been to the ground as well before and it’s really nice too, it’s just got a bit of a more personal feel than some of those huge clubs.

"I like the area and being that little bit further south is nice for me and my family," he added.

"We can push in the right direction before the end of the season and then next season, going forward, from what I’ve been told is that the recruitment should be really good and I think we only need a couple more players for the squad for us to push on to something really great.

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“Next season I definitely target going up or being in and around the play offs for the majority of the season. I think everyone should target that because our individual goals will all align towards one goal of promotion or taking it until the last days of next season."

Former Sunderland assistant manager Steve Cotterill, now in charge at Shrewsbury, said he was thrilled to get a deal for a key summer target done early.

"Tom is very, very experienced, he’s had a fantastic season to date at Sunderland,” he said.

“He’s had a good career to date, he’s very, very flexible.

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“We’ve needed a right-sided defender for a long time, he can play anywhere along the back three, he can play anywhere in a back four from right back across to left-back.

“You don’t get many of those players become available on a free transfer.

“He fits into our wage structure, it was actually a no-brainer.

"It’s something we’ve been on for a while and I think maybe we’d have done in the summer."

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Flanagan could be in line to make his debut for his new club when they face Fleetwood Town on Saturday.

Shrewsbury currently sit 17th in the table, four points clear of the relegation spots.