April 19, 2024

Sunderland have received a boost ahead of the season finale with the news that talisman Jack Clarke will be fit to play before the conclusion of the season.

The 23-year-old has been the Black Cats’ top performer this season, scoring a career-high 15 goals. He suffered an ankle ligament injury in the 2-1 defeat to Birmingham City at the end of February, and it was expected that would be his final appearance for the Wearsiders.

The winger has been linked with a move away from the Stadium of Light this summer. He was the subject of intense attention during the previous two transfer windows, with the club rejecting proposals from Burnley last summer and Lazio in January.

He is anticipated to sign a lucrative contract at the end of the season, with several Premier League and other clubs keen. Brentford and West Ham United have been connected, with more expected to join the race.

Clarke is under contract until 2026, and Sunderland are reportedly looking for a value of around £20 million to persuade them to sell. It is also reported that former club Tottenham Hotspur included a 25% sell-on provision in the contract that saw him move to the North East on a permanent basis in 2022.

His present absence has coincided with the club’s disastrous run of results. In the five games he has missed, they have failed to score in three and earned only one point. Although play-off hopes have faded, interim manager Mike Dodds will be eager for his star player to return as soon as possible.

His agent, Ian Harte, has said that he may play before the end of the season. Speaking to FreeBets, via Sunderland Echo, the former Leeds United defender said:

“Yes, he will definitely play again this season.

“He isn’t ready yet. He hasn’t joined the group yet. He has done some one-on-one work. He only got his boot off a week ago. I’m presuming the physio will have to make sure he gets back and is fine before he is pushed into the team.”

Sunderland’s next game is on Good Friday in South Wales against Cardiff City.

 

Jack Clarke explains which Tottenham players he mimicked and what he learnt  from Spurs managers - football.london

Writer’s perspective

It’s a good lift for Mike Dodds, who’ll be looking to rack up as many points as possible between now and the end of the season. Throughout the campaign, Jack Clarke has stood out above the rest, and he could be the man to help them turn things around.

Harte’s statements suggest that he will play a role between now and May, though the Easter fixtures may be too soon. However, with the winger poised to leave the Stadium of Light this summer, fans will have one more chance to witness him wear the red and white stripes.

 

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