BLACKBURN Rovers are considering a move for rookie Sunderland defender Louis Laing.
As the Echo reported last month, Laing is expected to be released at the end of the season when his contract expires at the Stadium of Light.
And that is understood to have alerted Championship outfit Blackburn, who are contemplating handing the centre-half a deal in the summer.
Despite being earmarked as a hot prospect when he was a teenager, Laing’s only taste of first-team action came in a brief substitute’s outing under Steve Bruce three years ago.
Since then, the 21-year-old has been hampered by a succession of injuries, but hasn’t come close to breaking out of the development squad and into the first-team picture.
But a host of League One and Championship clubs are keeping tabs on Laing, who enjoyed a four-month loan spell with Wycombe two years ago.
Laing will be one of several members of Sunderland’s U21 squad released at the end of the season, with the Black Cats already confirming the departures of Ross Holland, Jordan Watson, Carl Lawson and Adam Mitchell, who has been on trial with League One Brentford.
Striker Jordan Laidler and defender John Egan are also earmarked to depart when their contracts expire in the summer.
Egan is likely to be a target for League Two Southend, with the Republic of Ireland U21 international currently enjoying a successful loan spell with the Shrimpers.