Sunderland set to welcome back key man at Tranmere as transfer speculation continues

Bailey Wright is expected to make his Sunderland return on Tuesday night.

Monday, 26th July 2021, 2:20 pm

The Black Cats will travel to Tranmere Rovers for their penultimate pre-season friendly before the League One campaign begins.

Head coach Lee Johnson is expected to priortise giving minutes to those who have featured less prominently in the pre-season programme so far, whether due to injury or selection.

That means the side at Prenton Park is likely to have a younger profile, at least from the start.

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Sunderland defender Bailey Wrght

Johnson then has the final friendly against Championship side Hull City on Friday night to get his squad ready for the visit of Wigan Athletic on the opening day of the season.

Wright has not featured since the opening pre-season fixture at Spennymoor Town due to a minor groin injury, but returned to full training at the end of last week.

The 4-0 win over Harrogate Town came too soon for the experienced defender, but he is set to take his place in defence at Tranmere.

Wright's future on Wearside is in doubt, with Wigan eager to seal a deal to bring him to the DW Stadium.

Leam Richardson's side, who have already signed Max Power and Charlie Wyke this summer, could offer Wright a longer-term contract, with his current deal due to expire at the end of this season.

Johnson believes his former Bristol City captain has more to offer the Black Cats this season and has obvious concerns about his currently threadbare defensive options.

He had admitted, though, that the club could have a decision to make.

"He's got a year left on his contract," he said.

"We've been very open and honest with Bailey all the way through

"I don't think the new ownership have seen the best of Bailey Wright, in terms of, he's got to do better than the last ten games of last season.

"At the same time, he can, and he was a real warrior in that time because he'd been out for nine or ten weeks and then came in and had about ten games on the spin.

"We also know what he brings off the pitch more than anyone, he's a fantastic human being and a great leader for us.

"I know there's more to come."

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