NYRON Nosworthy could be followed out of the Sunderland exit door by several of the club’s in-demand youngsters.
Nosworthy ended two years of frustration on Wearside yesterday when he secured a permanent switch to Watford after his loan spell at Vicarage Road expired last weekend.
Boss Martin O’Neill had been considering handing Nosworthy a second chance at the Stadium of Light, but Watford were prepared to take the defender on a permanent basis and the clubs agreed undisclosed terms for the 31-year-old.
Several of Sunderland’s academy products look set to join Nosworthy in the Football League, with Billy Knott on the verge of a loan switch to AFC Wimbledon.
The 19-year-old former Chelsea midfielder is yet to make his first-team bow, despite being on the bench five times last season.
But the highly-rated Knott has been a regular for the reserves and will hope to continue his football education in League Two, although it is understood the move is yet to be finalised.
Second string team-mate Ryan Noble is also in demand, with several Championship clubs pursuing a loan move for the free-scoring hitman.
The 20-year-old has 13 goals in nine reserve team appearances this season, but is yet to feature under O’Neill and is not short of suitors looking to take him on a temporary basis.
Namesake Liam Noble could leave on a permanent switch, with Carlisle keen to land the 20-year-old midfielder after his second loan spell at Brunton Park expired earlier this month.
Carlisle boss Greg Abbott said: “As and when Martin O’Neill has spoken to Liam, he will speak to me.
“I’m not going to be over-pushy. There is an etiquette to doing it.
“We are working closely with someone at Sunderland who will tell us when to move and that’s still the case.”
While Knott and the two Nobles remain in the formative stages of their careers, Nosworthy could ill-afford to continue finding himself in limbo.
Sunderland’s longest serving player had not played for the Black Cats since January 2010’s defeat at Everton, which came just two months after ex-boss Steve Bruce handed him a two-year contract extension.
Nosworthy was sent out on loan to Sheffield United in the closing stages of the 2009/10 campaign and spent the whole of last season at Bramall Lane.
But a mixed spell in South Yorkshire, coupled with the Blades’ relegation, scuppered Nosworthy’s chances of joining United on a permanent deal and he returned to Wearside.
The former Gillingham man found himself lingering in the reserves for the opening three months of the season, with Bruce ruling out the prospect of first-team involvement.
Nosworthy told the Echo in October: “It’s incredibly disappointing because I love playing football and at the moment it’s just not happening.
“I understand I’m not in the manager’s plans at Sunderland and a loan would be the best idea but it isn’t as easy as it seems to get a new club.”
Watford eventually opted to take Nosworthy on loan and he impressed in his 13 appearances for the Hornets, finishing on the losing side just twice.
The fee involved to keep Nosworthy in the Championship is likely to be minimal, if at all, with an agreement reached on the remaining six months of the centre-half’s Sunderland contract.
Nosworthy said: “It feels like home here. Credit to the manager here for the chance he gave me to play and for helping make this deal happen.
“I’m also grateful to Sunderland for letting me get on with playing first-team football, which is what I need at this stage in my career.”
Watford boss Sean Dyche said: “I think it’s important we recognise the part played by both Steve Bruce and Martin O’Neill – first Steve in allowing Nyron to join us on loan and then for Martin to allow the deal to go through.
“For a player to have made such a mark with fellow players, staff and supporters in a relatively short space of time speaks volumes about Nyron as a man, as well as a footballer,”
Despite the sour conclusion to his Sunderland spell, Nosworthy will be remembered fondly on Wearside after 125 appearances for the club.
After initially struggling to make the grade in the Premier League following his free transfer move from Gillingham in the summer of 2005, Nosworthy became an unlikely cult hero for the Black Cats.
He thrived after being switched from right-back to centre-half and played a key role in Sunderland’s 2006/07 promotion from the Championship under Roy Keane – winning the Player of the Season award in the process.