SUNDERLAND’S hopes of holding on to goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin have received a boost after Blackburn Rovers boss Tony Mowbray admitted he was not in a position to make firm contract offers to anyone for next season.

McLaughlin is due to become a free agent in two weeks’ time, but Sunderland officials have offered a new deal to remain at the Stadium of Light.

The 32-year-old has also been attracting attention from Blackburn, with Rovers officials understood to have held preliminary discussions with his representatives.

However, with Blackburn’s owners, the Venkys, is an uncertain financial position because of the coronavirus pandemic, Mowbray admits he does not yet know his budget for next season.

As a result, he is unable to make any concrete contract offers, raising hopes that McLaughlin could be persuaded to remain at Sunderland even though it would mean him spending another season in League One.

“If I don’t know how much money I’m spending, I can’t be throwing it at people,” admitted Mowbray. “Who’s to say there’s not going to be salary caps brought in, or the budget isn’t going to be cut considerably because the (Venky’s) businesses in India aren’t functioning as well as they might have been?

“At the moment, I can’t offer people anything while we don’t have budgets and don’t know how much we have to spend because that’s how you have to work.

“Let’s get to the end of the season, everyone together as we’ve always done, and see where this season takes us.”

Blackburn return to action in tenth position in the Championship table, and still have a chance of winning promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs, which would transform their financial position at a stroke.

Sunderland have made what they believe to be an attractive offer, and have also offered new terms to defender Tom Flanagan and forward Chris Maguire.

Having confirmed the release of five first-team players this week, Phil Parkinson will be looking to overhaul his squad in the summer.

He has been linked with a possible move for Rotherham United striker Jerry Yates, who has spent this season on loan at League Two side Swindon Town.

Yates’ goals helped Swindon win promotion to the third tier, but the Robins are likely to be outbid for the 23-year-old, who is set to leave Rotherham as a free agent.