SUNDERLAND are ready to let academy product Blair Adams join Coventry City on a permanent basis.
Adams saw his loan deal with the Sky Blues extended by just a week yesterday, to allow the left-back to feature in tomorrow’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy semi-final against Preston along with League One encounters against Carlisle and Tranmere.
But the brevity of the extension is so the two clubs can continue negotiations over a permanent switch for the 21-year-old, who has made 12 appearances for Coventry since arriving on loan in November.
South Shields-born Adams is out-of-contract next summer and despite impressing Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill during pre-season, has still not made a first-team appearance for the Black Cats.
Sunderland are understood to be prepared to let Adams further his career by joining Coventry on a long-term basis, with the deal likely to involve a free transfer with a hefty sell-on clause included.
Coventry boss Mark Robins is remaining coy over whether he is looking to secure a permanent deal, but he admitted today: “We want to keep Blair for as long as we possibly can.
“Obviously we have had him on loan and Sunderland have been kind to extend that and we will do what we need to do over the next week and hopefully have that resolved.
“I think he has been good for us and a catalyst for changing the balance of the team. He’s a young lad so there’s a lot of improvement in him and he needs to get stronger and there are things we need to do with him that he’s aware of, so we’ll see what we can do in the long term.”
Adams has been arguably the stand-out performer for Sunderland Under-21s this season and O’Neill admitted when the defender joined Coventry, that he had been unlucky not to make his first-team debut.
But it still hasn’t been enough for Adams to force his way into O’Neill’s plans, with John Egan the only one of the club’s youngsters to even make it onto the bench this season.
Egan was an unused substitute for September’s Capital One Cup win at MK Dons, while England U19 goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has warmed up before games alongside Simon Mignolet and Keiren Westwood both home and away.
But O’Neill tellingly opted to only name six substitutes for last weekend’s FA Cup clash at Bolton, rather than including one of the club’s academy products on the bench.