Josh Hawkes reacts after joining Sunderland - despite reported interest from Leeds United and Newcastle United

Josh Hawkes says he is ‘over the moon’ to join Sunderland after putting pen to paper on a two-year deal at the Academy of Light.

Tuesday, 15th September 2020, 1:12 pm

The former Hartlepool United man will team-up with the Black Cats’ under-23 squad and becomes the seventh new signing to join Elliott Dickman’s squad this summer.

Hawkes will join former Pools teammate Kenton Richardson on Wearside as the duo look to add some experience to Sunderland’s second string.

An attacking midfielder, Hawkes has made 63 senior appearances thus far in his career and netted 13 times for Hartlepool since his debut in 2017.

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The 21-year-old was reportedly on the radar of Newcastle United and Leeds United this summer, but said he was delighted to have joined the Black Cats.

“I’m over the moon,” he told safc.com.

"It’s been in the pipeline for a while now, so to get it finally sorted is great. I can’t wait to get started.”

Dickman added: “We’re really pleased with this signing. He has lots of National League experience with Hartlepool and that will really benefit him and the younger lads in the group. Our job is to improve him further and hopefully he will progress with us.”

Sunderland’s under-23 side begin their Premier League 2 campaign on Monday, September 21 with a trip to Burnley – in a game which could see Hawkes feature.

The Black Cats played a behind closed doors friendly with Blackburn Rovers under-23 side on Monday afternoon, with the Lancashire outfit running out 2-0 winners at the Academy of Light.

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