Hartlepool United boss Neale Cooper has spoken to Sunderland chief Martin O’Neill about striker Ryan Noble, writes Craig Hope.
But, for now, the former Pools loanee looks set to return to pre-season training with the Black Cats next month before any decision is made on his future.
However, Cooper remains keen on bringing Noble back to Victoria Park next season and a deal could be struck before the big League One kick-off on August 18.
The player – who underwent hernia surgery last month – has already expressed a desire to return on loan and it is thought the Sunderland hierarchy would be keen to see the striker gain more first-team experience.
Cooper said today: “I have spoken to Martin O’Neill and thanked him for letting us have Ryan.
“I had a really good chat with him and it was great making that connection.
“I’ve never spoken to him before and he was also very positive regarding other players. If you make that contact and keep that closeness it can only be good.”
Noble scored twice in nine outings for Pools, saving his best performance for the final day of the season in the 3-2 defeat at champions Charlton.
Cooper had only positive things to tell O’Neill about the 20-year-old, and the Pools chief believes the Wearsiders will see a much-improved player when they report back at the Academy of Light.
“I gave Martin a glowing report on Ryan,” he said, “But is Ryan ready for their first team yet?
“I don’t know what they plan to do, but I’d love to have him back.
“He’ll want to go back there in pre-season and see if he’s in the picture, that’s what he should do.
“He’s a positive lad and will want to try that. I like that.
“But I’ve said before how much I’d welcome him here. He was one of those who just settled in straight away.
“All of the lads liked him, but more importantly he was a good player and one who will only get better and better with the more games he plays.”