Sunderland defender opens up on big summer decision and what the future holds

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Sunderland full-back Reece James is not letting his contract situation distract him from his main focus of gaining automatic promotion.

James, who arrived from Wigan Athletic after being released by the Latics in the summer, hopes he can play a vital part in the final run-in of the season after overcoming an injury blow.

Sunderland defender Reece James.

Sunderland defender Reece James.

Having only signed a one year contract with the Black Cats, James will be hoping he has done enough to be at the club next year - but getting back in the Championship is his only concern at the moment.

Speaking during an appearance at a club event at Peterlee Fire Station, the 25-year-old said: “At the moment, not really [have there been any talks].

“The main thing is we get through to the end of the season and concentrate on that, and that’s where my focus is at the moment.

“Anything after that will be a bonus so we need to make sure we go up.”

James returned to training on Wednesday after suffering an ankle injury over the last couple of weeks and is close to a return just in time to help the club hopefully gain automatic promotion.

“I’ve started doing exercise,” he said. “I trained today for the first time so hopefully I’ll be fit for the last little push of the season”.

However, the former Manchester United academy player knows it’s not going to be so easy to earn his place back in the starting line-up.

Bryan Oviedo and Denver Hume are also fighting for the left-back spot, but competition is what James relishes.

“They’ve both done really well which is a credit to them and it’s what you want to see in a squad, especially at this time of the season with the position we’re in,” he added.

“We need to make sure everyone is chomping at the bit to play and that everyone is performing to the best of their abilities."