League One club Sunderland won’t immediately recall winger Josh Hawkes from his loan spell at Tranmere but aren’t ruling out doing so later this month.
Hawkes is one of two highly-rated Sunderland youngsters currently out on season-long loan spells in League Two, the other being Harrogate’s Jack Diamond. Last month, Black Cats boss Lee Johnson had suggested both players may be recalled in early January to provide cover for the first team squad at the Stadium of Light, but that now looks unlikely.
Sunderland’s Sporting Director, Kristjaan Speakman, provided an update on both players this week and whether they would be recalled at all or allowed to complete their loan terms.
Speaking to the Sunderland Echo, Speakman said: “They’re out on loan to enhance their development so we’ve got to be really, really careful,”
“We’ve been monitoring Jack and Josh really closely throughout the season and it will be in double figures the number of times that we’ve watched them both.
“We’ve kept a really close eye on them and it’s about the balance. Are they going to come back and be really effective and obtain those minutes and those experiences they need, or are they better off where they are?
“That’s also in balance with what else is available [in the transfer market]. At the present time, if we’ve got a choice of maybe two players that we’ve got a choice that we might be able to acquire, does Jack come in front of them, does he sit behind them, would we see him play more often, less often?
“It’s difficult to make that judgement up front. We’re trying to plan appropriately, but we’re not ruling out either them staying where they are for the rest of the season, or bringing them back.
“What we’re not going to do is rush into that decision, because we don’t need to.”
Hawkes has been impressive for Rovers this season, scoring once and providing three assists in 17 outings.
Tranmere fans will be excited by the prospect of seeing Hawkes continue his spell at Rovers with new signing Josh McPake potentially operating on the opposite wing following his arrival from Rangers on Wednesday.