The latest on Jerry Yates' future as Sunderland and Blackpool-linked striker handed a big decision

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Reported Sunderland striker target Jerry Yates faces a decision over his future, according to Rotherham United assistant manager Richie Barker.

The 23-year-old striker has been linked with a move to the Stadium of Light this summer, while Blackpool are also understood to be keen on the frontman after he netted 14 times for Swindon Town during a season-long loan spell.

And while Rotherham activated a cause in Yates’ contract earlier this week, which will extend his stay in South Yorkshire by a year, a summer exit is not off the cards.

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Indeed, Barker says the decision will come down to the man himself – and whether he sees his future away from the New York Stadium.

Sunderland have been linked with striker Jerry YatesSunderland have been linked with striker Jerry Yates
Sunderland have been linked with striker Jerry Yates

Yates has enjoyed regular game time over the last two seasons having first spent a six month spell with Carlisle United before his goal-laden stint at Swindon.

And while Barker admits that the striker is a player who the Millers would be interested in keeping, he is well aware that Yates may have his sights set elsewhere – hence why the club opted to activate the clause in his contract.

“We would be mad not to take that opportunity for us to extend it [the contract] knowing the season he’s just had,” admitted Barker, speaking to BBC Radio Sheffield.

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“Jerry has had a great year. He wanted to go and play first-team football and has been part of our squad for four, five years now – and he just wanted an opportunity to go and prove himself and play on a regular basis.

“He’s ended up getting a promotion, he’s ended up scoring goals and I’m well aware – as I’m sure everyone is – that he’s raised a bit of interest in terms of various clubs throughout the divisions.

“We had to activate it because he’s an asset. He’s somebody that if he wanted to stay, then he would be a useful asset for the squad.

“But if he decides he wants to move on, then it’s the right thing for the club to activate it. If Jerry does decide to move on, we’ll make sure it’s the correct move for both the football club and Jerry.”

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“If Jerry wasn’t a Rotherham United player, and he’s scored 14 goals for a League Two team, he’d probably be someone who had cropped up on our radar,” continued Barker.

“Obviously we know and have had him at the club since he was in his teens, but we’re well aware that having had one year of being a regular that it may be something that Jerry wants to explore.

“He’ll be back with us in pre-season, and then we’ll have a chat with him about where his mindset is.”

Sunderland are likely to be in the market for a striker this summer, with Kyle Lafferty having already departed the Stadium of Light. There are also question marks over the future of Will Grigg, who is likely to have admirers once the transfer window opens.