SUNDERLAND are keeping a close eye on Jordan Pickford’s progress during the goalkeeper’s loan spell at Bradford City.
Academy product Pickford is rated as one of the top prospects coming through Sunderland’s ranks and penned a new contract at the Stadium of Light during the summer which will keep him tied to the club until 2018.
But with Vito Mannone and summer signing Costel Pantilimon both ahead of the 20-year-old in Sunderland’s pecking order, the Black Cats were keen to further the Washington-born stopper’s education by sending him on a season-long loan to League One Bradford during the summer.
However, there is a 24-hour recall clause in Pickford’s loan deal and the England Under-19 international is not able to feature for the Banthams in the cup competitions.
And as Pickford revealed, Sunderland are constantly monitoring him after he has started all six of Bradford’s league encounters so far this season.
Pickford said: “Sunderland are keeping in touch regularly. They come to watch when they can and get the DVDs of my game clips.
“Obviously I’m their player at the end of the day and they want to see how I’m doing.
“For myself, I know I have to keep working hard to do well for Bradford.
“I want to do well for myself, it’s about my own development as a player.
“Hopefully one day it works out for me when I get back to Sunderland, whether that’s next season or whenever.”
Pickford has previously enjoyed loan spells at Alfreton, Darlington, Burton and Carlisle, and says those experiences have helped him to hit the ground running after moving to Valley Parade.
And he is grounded enough to realise that regular first-team action in the Football League is far more beneficial to him than outings for Sunderland’s Under-21s.
He added: “This is my fifth loan so I’m getting used to it now. Having those others behind me helped make me feel a lot more comfortable when I came straight in here.
“I knew what to expect so it was easier to settle in.
“Hopefully I’ve got a good future ahead with Sunderland. They’ve got two really good keepers at the moment so I have to bide my time.
“This is the best thing for me to be playing as many games as I can.”