Sunderland transfer news: Kristjaan Speakman explains why midfield prospect has been allowed to leave on a permanent deal

Josh Hawkes has completed a permanent move from Sunderland to League Two side Tranmere Rovers for an undisclosed fee.

Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 7:51 am

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The 22-year-old midfielder spent the first half of the season on loan at Prenton Park but was recalled so Sunderland could fulfil their League One fixture at Wycombe earlier this month.

Hawkes has signed a two-and-a-half year contract at Tranmere which will run until the summer of 2024.

Sunderland signed Hawkes in September 2020, after his contract at Hartlepool expired, and the midfielder impressed for the Black Cats’ under-23 side last season.

Josh Hawkes playing for Sunderland.

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When explaining the decision, Sunderland’s Sporting Director Kristjaan Speakman said: “Josh has worked incredibly hard over the past 18 months to compete for a place within our senior squad before enjoying a successful loan at Tranmere.

"He turns 23 later this week and the opportunity to move to Prenton Park on a permanent basis and play League Two football regularly is one that we feel is the right step for him. We wish Josh every success for the future.”

Speaking to Tranmere’s official website, Hawkes revealed: “I’m delighted. As soon as I heard Tranmere wanted to make it permanent, it was something I was keen to do.

“It’s really important for me at this stage of my career to be playing week in, week out. Tranmere have given me that opportunity and hopefully I can push on here.

“The team are doing really well at the moment and that was another factor in my decision to come back, as well as my connection with the fans. I just can’t wait to get going again now.”

Rovers boss Micky Mellon added: “We’re really pleased to bring Josh in and now he becomes one of our own.

“It’s terrific for us that we’re growing our own team with our own players which is an important step forward for us.

“We’re building these relationships with these clubs now such as Celtic, Rangers and Sunderland which benefits both clubs and we’ll see if we can keep improving the team in the future in this way.”

Hawkes made three senior appearances for Sunderland and scored in this season’s 2-1 Carabao Cup win at Port Vale.

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