Colback in contract talks

Sunderland are talking with Jack Colback, but Gus Poyet is favouring a cautious approach when it comes to contract discussions.

The Black Cats are eager to agree fresh terms with those considered to be key to their plans heading forward, but appreciate that the preservation of their Premier League status has to be considered a top priority at present.

That means tentative talks are being held, with home-grown midfielder Colback among those to have been contacted.

The 24-year-old is reported to have attracted interest from a number of top flight rivals, with his current deal due to expire at the end of the season.

Poyet hopes an agreement can be reached which suits all parties, but acknowledges that he finds himself in a 'difficult situation' when it comes to planning for the future.

He told the Sunderland Echo: "We are negotiating. But it's a difficult situation that we're in.

"I would love to decide everything tomorrow and by the end of the month we can start preparing for pre-season. But can I do that? Not really.

"When you're making decisions because of the way I set up my team and squad, if I know who I've got, I can start looking for particular players. But that's tough at the moment."

Poyet is, however, doing all he can to make the picture on Wearside a little clearer, with Colback one of seven players due to become a free agent in the summer.

He added: "These are the things we need to start doing slowly.

"There are a few issues that we need to do anyway and there's a few where we need to wait a bit longer.

"It's not just us, it's the players as well. They want to wait."