Exclusive: Sunderland defender to move abroad in permanent deal

Michael Ledger has been on loan at Hartlepool United.
Michael Ledger has been on loan at Hartlepool United.
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Sunderland defender Michael Ledger is set to sign a two-year deal with Norwegian side Notodden FK, the Echo understands.

The 20-year-old has been on loan at National League side Hartlepool United but that has been cut short with the defender set to move to Norway in a permanent deal.

Ledger, who has been hampered with injuries since joining Pools, made 11 appearances for Pools, who are struggling on and off the pitch with administration a real threat unless new owners and investment can be secured.

Notodden FK, promoted last season, play in the Obos-Ligaen, the second tier in Norway and Ledger will come up against his former club Viking, who were relegated last season.

Ledger is in Norway having completed the formalities of his deal and the move is expected to be announced imminently.

The centre-back will sign a two year deal.

Ledger joined Viking on loan last January, in a bid to broaden his football horizons and boost his chances of first-team football at Sunderland.

The promising centre-back played every minute for Viking Stavanger in the Norwegian top flight during his 13-game spell, catching the eye of scouts.

Ledger impressed Viking boss Ian Burchnall during his loan spell, which saw him play 1,170 first-team minutes – learning the hard way in a struggling side.

On his return to Wearside, Ledger then moved out on loan again, this time to Hartlepool United.

Ledger, reflecting on his first spell in Norway, told the Echo last October: "I was looking to get out on loan in the January window.

"A few options fell at the final hurdle and then my agent just said 'did you know the European window is still open and how do you fancy Norway?'

"I said 'book me a flight and I’m there'.

"It was an English coach – that helped a lot – and I clicked straight away.

"They put me up in my own flat, the standard of football was good, it was really professional. We struggled a bit with a young team, but, looking back, that was a good thing for me – I learned the hard way.

"There was some challenging times, but those challenges make you stronger. I learned an awful lot and am now reaping the rewards."