MARTIN O’NEILL will happily allow Sunderland’s raft of rookies to remain on loan, with the possibility of bringing them back to Wearside at a moment’s notice.
Sunderland have been pro-active in sending their academy products out on loan to gain vital experience of first-team football.
The Black Cats have seven youngsters plying their trade in the Football League, with another three in the Blue Square Premier.
Midfielder Billy Knott extended his stay at League Two AFC Wimbledon yesterday, while the initial month-long loans of Ryan Noble, Jordan Cook, Louis Laing, John Egan and Trevor Carson expire this week.
O’Neill is prepared to let them all remain at their respective clubs, with Sunderland benefiting from a 24-hour recall clause, which provides the Wearsiders with a safety net if they suffer an injury crisis.
“The great thing about it is when the loan deals run out, we can continue to loan them but with an immediate recall,” said O’Neill.
“After 28 days, you can put that recall clause in.
“If the clubs they are at want to keep them and they are fine there, then we can extend the loans and bring them back if we need them.”
Sunderland had already extended the loan of left-back Blair Adams, who has been a regular for League Two strugglers Northampton, while youngsters Jordan Pickford and Liam Bagnall only recently joined cash-strapped Darlington.
Wycombe boss Gary Waddock has confirmed his interest in keeping Laing at Adams Park, with the 18-year-old centre-half starting four times for the Chairboys.
Waddock said: “We’re talking to Sunderland and Laingy as well. Hopefully we can keep him. He’s done well for us.”
Arguably the most intriguing development will be whether Derby County extend the loan of prolific reserve team striker Ryan Noble, who has managed just one start and one substitute appearance for the Rams.
The 20-year-old’s loan is due to expire after tonight’s clash with Reading in the Championship, but Rams boss Nigel Clough is keen to keep the Millfield-born hitman at Pride Park.
Clough said: “We’ll have a chat with him and Sunderland and see what Ryan is thinking and of course Sunderland control the situation if they want him back.
“We’d like to keep him around, if we can. I don’t think you can have too many strikers.
“We have got four or five at the moment, and it is going to be difficult for him certainly to get a start with Callum Ball and Nathan Tyson doing well, and Steven Davies and Theo Robinson getting fit.”