SUNDERLAND transfer target Will Buckley insists he is not looking to follow Liam Bridcutt out of the Brighton exit door.
Brighton winger Buckley was on the Black Cats’ radar during the January transfer window, with Sunderland thought to have seen a bid of around £1million rejected by Poyet’s former club.
The Seagulls were looking for a fee in excess of £2m, but neither Sunderland – nor fellow suitors Crystal Palace – were willing to go that high for Buckley, particularly as he has not featured since December because of a hamstring problem.
But if Sunderland beat the drop, they can be expected to reunite their interest in the 25-year-old, who still has another three years to run on his Brighton contract.
Poyet, who has already raided his former club for £2.5m January capture Bridcutt, claimed Buckley was “better” than Wilfried Zaha during his time as Brighton manager, prior to the then Crystal Palace wideman joining Manchester United in a £10m deal.
But Buckley has poured cold water on the suggestion that he is looking to leave the Amex Stadium, with Brighton still firmly in the hunt for a Championship play-off spot.
“Brighton is a club that is going forward,” said Buckley.
“I said that when I signed (a new contract) and it still is, so there is no reason for me to be looking elsewhere at the moment.”
Buckley admits though that January was an unsettling period, because of both the transfer speculation and his hamstring problem, which has only just seen him return to the first-team contention.
The former Watford man added: “It was a strange time. I just wanted to get back playing.
“That is the most frustrating part, when you want to be helping the team and you can’t because of slight injuries.
“You try to say it doesn’t affect you but it probably does in a way, so just getting back on the field is the best policy.”