'No guarantees' over who will be Sunderland's number one this season

Vito Mannone ended the campaign as number one
Vito Mannone ended the campaign as number one
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The fight to be Sunderland's number one goalkeeper is intensifying with Vito Mannone and Jordan Pickford battling hard for the jersey.

Goalkeeping coach Adrian Tucker has hailed both keepers after a 10-day training camp in Austria.

But he admits there are "no guarantees" over who will start in goal against Manchester City in the first game of the new Premier League season at the Etihad Stadium on August 13.

Mannone ended the season as Sam Allardyce's number one after Costel Pantilimon was sold in January to Watford.

But highly-rated England Under-21 international Pickford - who is being tracked by Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur - is pressing him all the way.

The duo were joined by youngster Max Stryjek, who signed a new three-year deal in the summer, in the searing heat of Austria.

"This time last year we had another senior goalkeeper – Costel Pantilimon – and Jordan was in a similar position to the one Max is in now," said Tucker.

"But we felt it was important for him to go out on loan play games and he’s done that, matured over the past 12 months and is ready to kick on.

"He has to push, as does Vito, to become number one for the start of the season and even though Vito ended the season well there are no guarantees he will start, so it’s up to Jordan to prove himself to the boss and up to Vito to stay where he is.

"That competition is important for both of them and they push each other through a rivalry, but they also have a great relationship and a real friendliness."

He added: "The first few days back are always going to be tough but they’ve come back in good shape.

"Their fitness levels are quite high and they’ve got back into the swings of things so we’ve been able to progress quickly.

"Pre-season for ‘keepers can be done in many different ways but personally I like to get the balls out as quickly as possible, but as I said it’s important to build that base of endurance before moving onto the technical side," added Tucker to the club website.

The squad flew back to Wearside on Friday afternoon ahead of the first pre-season friendly against Hartlepool United at Victoria Park on Wednesday.

And Pickford is targeting a run of matches in the six-game run of pre-season friendlies.

"All the sessions we’ve had so far in Austria have been good and each of them have been different," said Washington-born Pickford.

"This morning with Tucks we were working on our sharpness and getting back in the swing of things after not playing any games for a few weeks.

"We’re doing a lot of power work, jumping and working with different members of the backroom team – Mike Clegg and David Binningsley – to help with our overall fitness.

"I’m hoping to get some game time during pre-season. I’m just going to keep my head down and get stuck in and then if I’m ever called-upon I’ll take my chance to impress.

"We’ve got six games across pre-season, hopefully out of those I’ll get a few chances to play.

"That’ll be good for me and it’s what I’d like to take from pre-season, it definitely helped me last year."