Sunderland boss gives honest view on the next steps for Bailey Wright amid transfer speculation

Tony Mowbray has hinted that he won't stand in Bailey Wright's way should he pursue a January exit from the club, though that appears increasingly unlikely.
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League One side Portsmouth had been one of the sides credited with an interest in Wright but speaking on Thursday, new head coach John Mousinho said that they had been no encouragement in pursuing a move for his former team-mate.

"It looks like from our perspective that Bailey is probably going to stay up in Sunderland," Mousinho said.

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"I checked in on that yesterday and it looks a non-starter for us."

Wright's potential departure from the club emerged last week following strong interest in the defender from north of the border.

Sunderland's head coach has made clear to the defender that he faces a battle for regular minutes when all of his defensive options are fit, potentially opening the door for the popular Australian.

However, he has also stressed Wright's importance within the group and he has already made some key contributions this season when called upon.

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He said a potential departure would be based on his respect for the defender as a person, rather than him actively looking to move him on. The 30-year-old clearly has an important part to play should he opt to stay.

Sunderland defender Bailey WrightSunderland defender Bailey Wright
Sunderland defender Bailey Wright

"My first thoughts really are around what it is Bailey wants to do," Mowbray said.

"I've been really honest with him in terms of where I see him and what we've got in that part of the pitch.

"I think it's in Bailey's hands and I'd like to support him in whatever decision he makes, whether that's to stay, compete and try and help this team achieve our goals, or if he wants to go and be a regular footballer somewhere then I think I will support that as well.

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"In my view, people earn respect and we are talking about a really good human being, who even if he's not playing is always around encouraging his team-mates and being a real focal point in the group.

"It's important that we have Bailey in the discussion about what's right. If he has options and he wants to take one, then we'll assess whether we can allow that to happen."