Midfield olive branch may sway Richardson
SUNDERLAND officials continue to hold contract talks with Kieran Richardson, with Steve Bruce admitting the England international could yet line up in midfield rather than defence this season. Richardson is in the final year of his current contract and Bruce is keen to tie him to a new deal before he becomes free to talk to potential suitors at the turn of the year. Niall Quinn has held a series of talks with the 25-yearold and his father, who represents him, and the Sunderland chairman is hoping to make further headway before the start of the new campaign. Richardson had been expected to spend much of that campaign at left-back, but Lorik Cana's departure has created an unexpected gap at the heart of midfield. And while Bruce could yet choose to bring in another midfielder, the fact that Richardson spent the second half of Tuesday's 2-1 win over a Munster XI in a central midfield berth suggests he could yet feature there over the course of the next ten months. Niall has had talks with Kieran's father, confirmed Bruce. And they're ongoing. I was delighted with Kieran last season, and the way he played at left-back. I think he's got his head around it now (playing at leftback) and he's okay. But of course he also can play in midfield and I'm not ruling that out. He's another player we have who can play in midfield. Martyn Waghorn's secondhalf brace proved too much for Munster's representative side, but the striker's evening took a turn for the worse when he suffered a knee injury in the closing stages of the game. Waghorn was in considerable pain after over-stretching to reach the ball, but early indications suggest the injury is not as severe as initially feared. The 20-year-old flew back with the rest of the Black Cats squad yesterday lunch-time, and is set to have a series of exploratory scans later today. However, those tests are a precautionary measure, with Sunderland's medical staff confident Waghorn has not suffered any significant ligament damage. Waghorn is a concern because of the way he landed on his knee, said Bruce. We hope he hasn't done anything serious that's the biggest fear. We'll study the evidence and have a look at it, but touch wood we're thinking at the moment that he'll be okay. Waghorn spent the majority of last season on loan at Leicester City, and a number of Championship clubs, including both the Foxes and Hull City, are known to have inquired about his possible availability next season.
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