Sunderland boss confirms defender exit

Tony Mowbray has confirmed that Jordan Willis has left Sunderland after recovering from his long-term knee injuries, and revealed that there has been interest from League One side Forest Green.

Willis saw his contract expire in the summer but Sunderland extended it to allow him to recover fully from two major patellar tendon injuries that had sidelined him for well over a year.

With competition for defensive places severe in the long term on Wearside, all parties have agreed that it is best for him to try and kickstart his career elsewhere.

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Willis had been excellent for Sunderland before injury and Mowbray already stated that he could be an outstanding addition for a Football League club if he can get fit and stay fit.

“I had Jordan at Coventry City and he was very good," Mowbray said.

"He got a move to a very big football club. Whilst I didn’t see him play for Sunderland, I know what he would bring but he has picked up some bad injuries.

“Our conversations over the last few weeks is that I feel he is at a level now where he ended up training over the last couple of weeks with the first-team. I feel that he needs to go and play now and get his career started again. Go and train with a first-team everyday and show the manager that you warrant a place in his team.

“That is what we decided. It was a tough ask particularly with the central defenders and the right-backs that we have. There didn’t seem a very obvious route for him.

Sunderland defender Jordan Willis

“I think it was for the best. I think he had an option to go and train at Forest Green, though I'm not sure what came of that. That's what he needs, to go somewhere and get his career going again.

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"He’s fit but he has to overcome the mental scars of a long term injury and then once he does that, through repetition of training, hopefully he gets into the game scenarios, forgets about injuries and is the best version of himself.”

Former Black Cat Dylan McGeouch is currently at Forest Green, as was Conor Wickham until his short-term contract expired earlier this week.