Sunderland contract news: Kristjaan Speakman reveals Ross Stewart, Alex Pritchard and Danny Batth latest

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Alex Pritchard and Danny Batth are both under contract at Sunderland for next season, Sporting Director Kristjaan Speakman has confirmed.

The pair have been key figures not just in Sunderland's rise out of League One but also in their excellent start to life in the Championship.

Both have offered valuable on-pitch leadership as well as quality within their performances, and Pritchard is set to hand his head coach Tony Mowbray a big boost by returning to the matchday squad at Millwall.

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Batth has re-established himself in the side after a recent injury, and has been for many supporters one of the players of an exciting campaign so far.

The Echo asked Speakman earlier this week what the situation was regarding the pair, whose initial contracts upon signing for the club were set to expire in the summer.

However, he confirmed that this is not actually the case.

"With both of those players, there are automatic extension clauses which carry over for them for next season," Speakman said.

"So they are technically re-registered for next season."

Sunderland defender Danny BatthSunderland defender Danny Batth
Sunderland defender Danny Batth

With Ross Stewart's year-long extension also automatically triggered, it means that Carl Winchester is the only member of the senior squad out of contract this summer. Winchester is currently on loan at Shrewsbury Town.

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Speakman also confirmed to The Echo that the club would look to restart talks over a new and improved long-term deal for Stewart.

The Scot's focus is currently on dealing with his season-ending achilles injury, with surgery scheduled to take place next week.

The club are anxious to avoid putting a timeframe on his return as he sets out on the long road back to full fitness, but there is optimism that the injury is not as severe as initially feared and that he will be able to play a major part next season.

Speakman said that the club's stance on the striker had not changed, and that would lead to more talks in the not too distant future.

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"Our ambition has always been to re-sign Ross and that remains the case," he said.

"We've obviously got to be sensitive around the situation at the present time but I'm sure there will be a conversation in the near future about where we're at with that.

"It was only natural that we put that on hold coming into the January window, because I don't think those conversations are ever that productive during a transfer window.

"We're all absolutely gutted for Ross, a player who has not had the opportunity to play at this level before and has done so well. "And for a player who has been so robust for us to suffer two major injuries - it's gutting for him as an individual and for the club."

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Sunderland are also taking steps to address Corry Evans' contract situation after he suffered an ACL injury in the early stages of the 2-0 win over Middlesbrough.

Speaking after that prognosis was confirmed, head coach Tony Mowbray said that the club would 'do the right thing' by a player absolutely integral to the club both on and off the pitch.