Sunderland are leading the race to sign Luke Garbutt after Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert took Stephen Ward on trial.
Black Cats boss Phil Parkinson has a busy summer ahead as he looks to improve his squad in the hope of pushing for a promotion from League One the Championship next year, having finished 8th in England’s third tier.
Having already sealed deals for Bailey Wright and Aiden O’Brien, whilst also agreeing a new contract with Tom Flanagan, interest in former Everton defender Garbutt has been developing over the last few weeks.
The 27-year-old left Goodison Park this summer due to his contract expiration and has since gained plenty of interest with Ipswich said to also be keen.
However, Northern Echo are now reporting that Ipswich may have pulled out of the race to sign the free agent.
Boss Lambert has recently handed Stephen Ward, who is also primarily a left-back, a trial at the club and the report adds that a contract offer will be made if the former Stoke and Burnley man impresses over the next few days.
Whilst Sunderland do appear to now be front runners for Garbutt, they have also taken a defender on trial in former Manchester United youngster Demetri Mitchell.
It remains to be seen if Garbutt will join either Sunderland or Ipswich but it does seem that the former Everton man would be a good signing for either. Indeed in his last two campaigns he has performed well in League One for both Oxford United and the Tractor Boys, even managing 10 goals and 11 assists in that time despite being a defender.
Whether or not financially either can offer him a contract is a doubt, but that may be the same for Ward and Mitchell, who have both has some experience at the highest level.
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