Vito Mannone’s future could determine whether Jordan Pickford is recalled by Sunderland in the January transfer window, admits Sam Allardyce.
Academy product Pickford has been earning rave reviews during his loan spell at Preston North End, but there is a clause for the 21-year-old to be recalled by Sunderland next month and cut short his season-long spell with the Championship outfit.
The fact he’s got so many games under his belt, means that bringing him back here might be an option that we considerSam Allardyce
Allardyce - appointed after Pickford’s August move to Deepdale - is considering it after watching the England Under-21 international last month, with Sunderland’s coaching staff continuing to monitor the stopper closely.
That could spell the end of Mannone’s Sunderland career, with the back-up keeper making just one first-team appearance this season, amidst speculation that Verona have made an approach for the Italian.
“We’re going to have a look at it,” said Allardyce.
“I think he’s done exceptionally well at Preston. I’ve been to watch him against Nottingham Forest, when they won 1-0.
“He’s a Sunderland boy and the fact he’s got so many games under his belt, means that bringing him back here might be an option that we consider.
“It depends on how long Vito thinks he can sit in that position as number two.
“He’s a frustrated young man who thinks he should be playing.
“What may happen in January may make a difference.
“If nothing happens with Vito in January, we may end up leaving him (Pickford) where he is for the year, playing at that level and playing very well.”
Sunderland had considered offloading Mannone during the summer and promoting Pickford to number two behind Costel Pantilimon, before ex-head coach Dick Advocaat and sporting director Lee Congerton decided that regular first-team football in the Championship would be more beneficial for him.
But with fresh doubts over Mannone’s future, Allardyce has already spoken with Preston boss Simon Grayson about the possibility of Washington-born Pickford returning to Wearside.
“I spoke to Simon on Sunday when he received his award at the North-West Sports Writers’ dinner, and he was telling me that Jordan had pulled off a couple of great saves and kept a clean sheet at Burnley to get them a victory in a local derby,” added Allardyce.
“The lad is looking like he is going to be a major asset to this club, but the timing on bringing him back is something we’ll look at.”