CHAMPIONSHIP duo Coventry City and Birmingham City are both set to offer Sunderland defender Tom Flanagan a summer exit from the Stadium of Light.

Flanagan’s current contract is due to expire next week, but the Black Cats have offered the 28-year-old a new deal to remain on Wearside.

Phil Parkinson regards Flanagan as an important part of his first-choice defence, with the former Burton Albion centre-half having started Sunderland’s final eight games of the League One season.

However, unlike Chris Maguire, who agreed the terms of a new contract earlier this week, Flanagan is still to decide on his next move.

He is free to speak to prospective employers, and both Coventry and Birmingham are understood to have held discussions with his representatives.

Coventry were crowned League One champions earlier this month, but with the Sky Blues still playing at St Andrew’s rather than in their previous home at the Ricoh Arena, boss Mark Robins has been instructed to start planning for life in the Championship on a shoestring budget.

Flanagan’s availability as a free agent makes him an appealing cut-price option, and Robins is hoping to tie up a deal as quickly as possible.

He faces competition from the club that are currently acting as Coventry’s landlords, with Birmingham also hoping to lure Flanagan to St Andrew’s.

The Blues, who are currently 16th in the Championship table, have financial issues of their own, and even if they safeguard their status in the second tier in the next few weeks, they will be planning for next season with limited funds.

Sunderland will hope Flanagan’s experiences over the last two seasons will help persuade him to remain on Wearside, but the opportunity to play in the Championship could well make it difficult for the Black Cats to hold on to the defender.

Sunderland are also set to lose Bali Mumba in the next few days, with the teenager on the verge of completing a move to Norwich City.

The Canaries have agreed a fee of around £350,000 for the 18-year-old, who has struggled to carve out a place in Sunderland’s first team since breaking into the senior squad at the end of the Championship relegation season.