Jack Ross insists Jon McLaughlin wants to stay at Sunderland and has urged fans not to get hung up on the detail of contract discussions.

McLaughlin is currently in the final year of his current deal with the Black Cats and his representative has held initial talks with the club, but the Scotland international goalkeeper revealed a fortnight ago that negotiations had gone no further than that.

Owner Stewart Donald then said last week that McLaughlin's agent wanted to double his client's wages , and said the agent would have to take a more sensible approach when talks continue.

But Ross - who at the weekend labelled McLaughlin the best keeper in the division - has moved to defend the 31-year-old from any potential criticism, saying contract talks through third parties rarely reflect the true feelings of a player.

 

"The way in which negotiations happen between representatives and other representatives is is not always a fair indication of the player's thoughts," said Ross.

"I know people think it should be, but that is not necessarily how negotiations work.

"As far as Jon is concerned I think he should be immune to any potential criticism because I can't speak highly enough of him as a professional and I know he wants to stay here for the right reasons.

"I've said it often enough that John is very low maintenance.

Sunderland manager Jack Ross
Sunderland manager Jack Ross

"I've been consistent in my opinion as manager that I want to keep him at the club as long as possible otherwise I have to go out and find another goalkeeper who is as good.

"From Jon's point of view I think I should make it clear from the conversations I've had with him that he wants to stay at the club.

"In terms of the progress in extending his stay at the club, the talks had stalled - not through Jon's fault, they stalled for a variety of reasons - so now so let's hope the can now be kick-started and an agreement can be found for him to stay at the club.

"I don't think he's got any desire to leave. He's happy, he's enjoying his football, he is enjoying everything about being here and he has one year left on his contract so there is no real panic.

"It's just a question of keeping good players at the club as long as you can.

"We just need the negotiations to start properly and then we go from there and hopefully we can find that solution that will keep everybody happy."

 

McLaughlin arrived last summer as a free agent after leaving Hearts, and he excelled in his first year on Wearside and became a popular figure with fans.

Ross praised him following the weekend win over Portsmouth, and today he added: "Jon and I have a good relationship and I spoke after the game and gave my opinion on him as a player.