Sunderland eye January move for former midfielder Grant Leadbitter
Sunderland are interested in bringing Grant Leadbitter back to the Stadium of Light this month.
Jack Ross has identified central midfield as an area he wants to strengthen and sees the 33-year-old as a strong option as he seeks promotion back to the Championship.
Leadbitter left the Black Cats in 2009 to join Roy Keane's Ipswich Town.
Since moving to Middlesbrough in 2012 he has made over 200 appearances, but game time has been rare this season and he has just eight appearances in all competitions.
Middlesbrough are closing in on a deal for John Obi Mikel, who is available as a free agent.
That could clear the path for Leadbitter to leave, with an emotional homecoming a possibility.
Leadbitter made over 100 appearances for his boyhood club.
There is also interest from the Championship in his services.
The Black Cats remain keen on Wigan Athletic striker Will Grigg, whose ankle injury at the weekend is not as serious as first feared.
Sunderland are likely to return with a fourth bid for the 27-year-old.