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Sunderland in talks over signing Grant Leadbitter from Middlesbrough

Grant Leadbitter of Middlesbrough battles for possession with Jason Puncheon of Crystal Palace during the Carabao Cup Fourth Round match between Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace at Riverside Stadium on October 31, 2018 in Middlesbrough, England
Image: Grant Leadbitter (right) has made five Carabao Cup appearances this season

Sunderland are hopeful of bringing Grant Leadbitter back to Wearside from Middlesbrough, Sky sources understand.

The Boro club captain is set to take a large pay cut to return to his boyhood club, who are currently fighting for promotion from Sky Bet League One, and the two north-east clubs are in talks over a permanent transfer.

The 33-year-old midfielder began his career with the Black Cats and spent seven years on Wearside between 2002 and 2009, racking up 123 appearances across all competitions.

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Highlights of the Sky Bet League One game between Scunthorpe and Sunderland

Leadbitter played an instrumental role in helping Sunderland win promotion to the Premier League in the 2006/07 season, scoring seven goals in 44 Championship games as the club won the second-tier title.

He moved to Ipswich in 2009 and three years later signed for Middlesbrough, also helping them achieve promotion to the Premier League in 2015/16.

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Leadbitter made 32 Championship appearances for Boro last season but has struggled for game time in this campaign, featuring in just two of 28 games.

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