SUNDERLAND have tied down exciting young winger Craig Lynch on a new two-year contract.
The 19-year-old (pictured, left), who plays on the right flank but can also play up front, is one of the leaders of a new generation of Academy talent including the likes of Billy Knott and Louis Laing, that the club hopes will make the breakthrough into the first team in the next few seasons.
The scorer of 10 goals in 21 appearances for the Reserves in the 2010-11 campaign, the new deal will span a time in Lynch’s career which will see whether he has the ability to develop into a player capable of holding his own in the Premier League.
The Durham-born midfielder is one of 10 youngsters to have agreed new deals at the Stadium of Light – although Australian striker Matthew Fletcher is not one of them and has now left the club.
Also signing a two-year contract is Spanish midfielder Alex Gorrin who made two dozen appearances for Kevin Ball’s youth side last season and scored twice.
One-year contracts have gone to strikers Jordan Cook and Oumare Tounkara and midfielder Liam Noble – three players who went on loan last season and will do so again in the forthcoming one.
Easington’s Cook helped Walsall escape relegation to League Two, Noble was a star performer for Carlisle United and Tounkara scored seven goals on a season-long loan with Oldham Athletic.
Noble is set to return to Carlisle while clubs will be found for Cook and Tounkara in the days ahead,
The contracts give the trio some element of security while also allowing the club to retain their services, should they demonstrate they have a future at the Stadium of Light.
Goalkeeper Lewis King, right-backs Liam Marrs and Liam Bagnall and midfielders James Armstrong and Brett Elliott have also been awarded one-year deals.