Phil Parkinson reveals Laurens De Bock recalled by Leeds United and his future plans plus January update as window opens

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Laurens De Bock has returned to Leeds United for personal reasons, with the left-back keen on a return to Belgium.

The left-back joined Sunderland on loan in the summer but has endured a forgettable loan stint at the Stadium of Light.

Leeds had a recall option as part of the loan deal.

Phil Parkinson confirmed the news in the aftermath of his side’s 1-1 draw away at Fleetwood Town, Chris Maguire rescuing a point for Sunderland in the final five minutes from the penalty spot.

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Sunderland manager Phil ParkinsonSunderland manager Phil Parkinson
Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson

The Black Cats were certainly worthy of a point and could have come away with all three, Charlie Wyke’s header hit the post while other Maguire also saw an effort saved.

The January window opened today and Parkinson is expected to be busy though he does not envisage any new faces before the weekend visit of Lincoln City.

Parkinson said: “Laurens has gone back, he wanted to go back to Belgium.

“Leeds had the option to call him back. It was more a personal thing, he wanted to go back home.

“That is more wages we can utilise in the window.”

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Asked whether left-back now becomes a priority in January with Denver Hume the only recognised left-back in the squad Parkinson said he did not want to leave himself short.

He added: “Luke can play there, he is two footed, Conor McLaughlin can play on the right and Goochy can play wingback but yeah that now becomes an area [to strengthen], we don’t want to leave ourselves light in any area.

“I want to make sure we have cover in all areas and we have a strong second half of the season.”

Asked if there would be new signings before the weekend, Parkinson added: “No.”

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It was announced a couple of days ago that Stewart Donald is now actively looking to sell Sunderland AFC but Parkinson says that isn’t affecting his players.

He added: “My job is to concentrate on what is happening on the pitch, I am in dialogue with the owner all the time.

“The biggest thing is that anything happening off the pitch won’t affect us bringing in players in January and that is really important for us.

“There is a good feel about the group. After the Doncaster Rovers game, Gooch and Wyke coming back in to the team has given us a huge lift, almost like signing two new players for me personally as I didn’t have them much in my early time here.

“We knew they were on the way back, we have been planning for them coming back but it has been like having two new players.

“I feel for Charlie that he doesn’t have his goal.”