Sunderland assistant quiet on link with Man City’s Wright-Phillips

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ERIC Black was staying tight-lipped last night about any interest Sunderland might have shown in Manchester City discard Shaun Wright-Phillips.

The former Chelsea wideman has become a peripheral figure at Eastlands and manager Roberto Mancini has indicated the England man will be allowed to leave this summer.

Though Sunderland are reported to have made an enquiry over Wright-Phillips, Black was unwilling to speculate on any interest: “That’s for the manager and the board to look at,” he said.

But when pressed he admitted that the club might still be looking in another quality signing in addition to the nine new arrivals so far this summer.

“You are always on the look out for players and I think it has been widely publicised that we’ve reached the stage where we need to sell before we buy,” said Black.

“But with Steed Malbranque’s move to St Etienne finalised and George McCartney and Marcos Angeleri also possibly on their way, that will free up a lot of wages potentially.

“The manager has always said that if he gets money made available to him he will look to strengthen, so we have to wait and see what develops in terms of players going out and what that means in terms of players we can bring in.”

One thing Black was happy to speak about at length last night was the way Sunderland’s players came through the game against Darlington, for he believes the match has put the Black Cats’ squad in a much stronger position for the start of the season.

The Scot watched the Wearsiders ease to a comfortable 3-0 win over the Blue Square Premier League outfit and said: “I don’t think it could have worked out much better for us.

“We took the decision over the weekend to split the first-team squad between the games at Hartlepool on Tuesday and Darlington on Wednesday and it has been a very good move.

“At this stage we thought it was important to get 90 minutes into as many of the first-team squad as possible and this was the perfect way to do it.

“We’ve got Michael Turner and Titus Bramble getting a full 90- minutes under their belt and we’ve had five of the new signings getting another game to gel with the team.

“On top of that we’ve also been able to bring on a few of the youngsters on the night and they again acquitted themselves well.”