SUNDERLAND’S late surge towards Premier League safety has re-opened the door for those out-of-contract players who were expected to leave the club this summer.
Last month, with Sunderland seven points adrift at the bottom of the division, Gus Poyet revealed that no further talks were planned over the futures of long-serving pair Jack Colback and Phil Bardsley and that both would be heading out of the Stadium of Light at the end of the campaign.
The duo were among a host of out-of-contract players the club was due to make no effort to keep as it cleared the decks.
But Sunderland’s form in recent weeks - in which the likes of Colback, Bardsley, Seb Larsson and Craig Gardner have all played a part - has prompted the club to point out that the door is not necessarily shut on players whose contracts are set to end next month..
Poyet explained: “We had conversations with Phil and Jack which did not work out the way anyone had hoped so we decided to put an end to those talks.
“But the idea now is to leave it until we know for sure where we will be next season and then maybe we talk again.
“It’s a few more days to wait to know the outcome of the season, so it doesn’t really matter - it’s not months - and it is better for them and it is better for us.”
The Black Cats’ boss has been hugely impressed by the efforts of all the players in the squad who have contributed to the club’s revival.
Seven points taken from the last nine, thanks to a draw with Man City and victories over Chelsea and Cardiff City have lifted Sunderland clear of the relegation zone.
And Poyet has been fulsome in his praise of the contributions of Larsson and Colback in particular and Bardsley and Gardner previously.
They, and other players out of contract this summer, have shown a real commitment to the cause and no small amount of influence in the turnaround.
And while Poyet already has a huge amount of decisions to make this summer, the signs are that he will look again at players whose contract might be set to run out, but the club would now be more interested in keeping.
“There are so many things that we need to address here that we thought the best thing is to wait until the end of the season and weigh things up,” he told the Echo.
“Players want to wait, we don’t mind that we’re happy to wait, and then we see.
“As soon as we know we are safe, we will start making our plans.
“Sometimes I like to plan but sometimes it is impossible.”