PHIL BARDSLEY and Jack Colback are set to leave Sunderland this summer, regardless of which division the Black Cats are in.
Both Bardsley and Colback have been in contract negotiations with Sunderland for several months, with their current deals due to expire at the end of the season.
But those contract talks have now ground to a complete standstill and the pair are now expected to depart on free transfers in the summer.
Gus Poyet says it would not be fair on Sunderland supporters to re-start those contract talks even if the Black Cats beat the drop either after the duo have both turned down the chance to remain at the Stadium of Light.
“Everybody knows we have been in contract talks with a couple of players, but at the moment everything is on standby,” said Poyet.
“Everyone is responsible for their own decisions and I don’t think we are in a position to push people to do things they do not want to do.
“I’m not stupid, I understand it brings uncertainty to the club for the future.
“To be honest, it doesn’t matter where we finish - I cannot see them staying at the club.
“It would be too easy to make a decision based on where we are (Premier League or Championship” because it would be very unfair on the fans.”
Neither are any of the other six players whose contracts expire in the summer expected to remain at the club, with Bardsley and Colback the only two who have held any talks over a new deal.
“We have only offered contracts to two of the eight out-of-contract players, and now those negotiations have both completely stopped,” added Poyet.
Bardsley, who is on a lucrative deal at Sunderland, is understood to be a target for several Premier League clubs, including West Ham.
The 28-year-old had been open to remaining at the club when contract talks began earlier this season - after Poyet had handed the former Manchester United man a route back into the first-team fold - but was holding out for a longer stay.
Academy product Colback, meanwhile, also has several admirers, thought to include Fulham, Aston Villa, West Ham and Everton.
Rivals Newcastle United are thought to have an interest in the Killingworth-born midfielder too, yet the Echo understands that Colback is not one of the Magpies’ main summer targets.
Rumours of Colback already penning a pre-contract agreement with Newcastle - which were on social media earlier this week - are not thought to be true either.
Colback would not be able to open talks with any other English clubs until reaching the final month of his Sunderland contract.