SUNDERLAND will make another loan deal for Dion Sanderson one of their key priorities if they win promotion to the Championship this season.

Sanderson’s current loan from Wolves is due to expire in the summer, and the centre-half is expected to return to Molineux to join the rest of Nuno Espirito Santo’s squad for pre-season training.

The 21-year-old has been linked with a number of clubs including Crystal Palace and Sheffield United in recent weeks, but spelled out his determination to make it at Wolves in an interview with his hometown club’s website earlier this week.

With his contract due to expire in June 2022, Sanderson is set to be offered a new long-term deal at Molineux this summer, but with Wolves boasting a large number of options in the defensive positions, there is a good chance he will be sent back out on loan next season to further his development.

That loan would almost certainly see him move to a club in the Championship, and Sunderland boss Lee Johnson will be doing all he can to re-sign the centre-half provided he finds himself planning for a season in the second tier come the end of the current campaign.

Sanderson’s impressive defensive displays have been a key factor in the Black Cats’ surge up the table in the last couple of months, with the youngster slotting in seamlessly to deputise for injured duo Bailey Wright and Tom Flanagan.

The centre-half’s partnership with Luke O’Nien has seen Sunderland concede just one goal in their last five league games, and helped convince Johnson that Sanderson would be a valuable acquisition if the Black Cats were to find themselves planning for a season in the Championship.

“At his age level, he is an absolute Rolls-Royce,” said Johnson, earlier this month. “He has come up against different challenges, but has come through them.”