ADAM Reed admits he may need to leave Sunderland in the summer, regardless of his contract situation with the Black Cats.
The Sunderland Under-21s captain featured for Portsmouth in last night’s League One basement battle with Hartlepool United after joining the stricken south coast club on an initial month-long loan three weeks ago.
Reed’s contract at the Stadium of Light expires at the end of the season and the 21-year-old is unlikely to be offered a new one, as he reaches the age where he must be registered for Sunderland’s 25-man Premier League squad.
But after joining a fourth Football League club on loan, the Hartlepool-born midfielder says he wants to continue playing first-team football and that may over-ride any contract decision from Sunderland.
Reed, who has never made a competitive appearance for Sunderland, said: “My contract is up in the summer and I’ve been out on loan a lot, so I’ve played quite a few league games now. But then you go back and you don’t get an opportunity – so it gets a bit frustrating.
“I know I will have to look at my future and I will find out sooner rather than later whether they will offer me a contract or whether I want to find another club and play first-team football.
“I’ve been there a long time and it will be hard to make that decision if I decide to leave. But every player wants to play first-team football once you’ve had that taste.
“There is no better feeling than playing a proper game at 3pm on a Saturday.
“To play in front of fans makes it a proper competitive game. It’s hard to go back to playing in the Under-21s when you have had a taste of that.
“There is nothing like league football and if I am meant to play at the highest level, I will get there.”
Despite Portsmouth’s descent into oblivion and what appears an inevitable relegation into League Two, Reed insists he is enjoying his experience with Pompey.
“I’ve been on loan at other League One clubs but this is a massive club – the biggest one I’ve been on loan at.” added Reed, who has previously enjoyed stints with Brentford, Bradford and Leyton Orient.
“I don’t mind travelling and playing for clubs if it is the right move for me.”
Meanwhile, Reed’s Sunderland U21 team-mate Craig Lynch will not be signing on loan for Sheffield United.
Lynch spent a week on trial with the League One side earlier this month and featured in an U21 encounter against Huddersfield. But Blades boss Danny Wilson has opted against making a move for the 20-year-old winger.