Sunderland want Stewart Downing as Southend United sack Chris Powell

Stewart Downing is wanted by Sunderland.Stewart Downing is wanted by Sunderland.
Stewart Downing is wanted by Sunderland.
The latest news from Sky Bet Leagues One and Two:

Sunderland are keeping a close eye on Middlesbrough winger Stewart Downing, the Northern Echo understands.

The ex-England and Liverpool winger has not started a game since December 29 as another start would trigger an automatic contract extension.

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As a result, Boro boss Tony Pulis has been told not to start him in games, putting his career on Teesside in major doubt.

Rangers are also interested in Downing, where a reunion with Steven Gerrard could be on the cards.

League One trio Sunderland, Barnsley and Portsmouth are among several clubs chasing Hartlepool United starlet Conner Rennison.

An 'exclusive' report on TEAMtalk claims the 16-year-old is also being chased by the likes of Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Leeds, Hull and Bristol City.

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Pools could lose yet another one of their brightest prospects after Luca Murphy, 17, left by mutual consent last week.

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Murphy went on trial with Fulham in January before reported interest from the likes of Manchester United and Tottenham arose.

Meanwhile, Spurs have made a move for Southend teenage sensation Charlie Kelman, Football Insider reports.

Hull City are keeping tabs on soon-to-be free agent Coventry City goalkeeper Lee Burge, HITC Sport understands.

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It is believed Hull scouts were in attendance at the Ricoh Arena last weekend as the Sky Blues fell to a 1-0 defeat against Oxford United.

The Tigers are on the look out for a new number one ahead of next season with David Marshall's contract set to expire in the summer.

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Like Marshall, Burge is also out of contract in just over three months time - making him an attractive proposition.

Charlton Athletic manager Lee Bowyer has yet to be offered a new contract despite having under three months left on his deal at The Valley.

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Bowyer was told three weeks ago that owner Roland Duchatelet wanted to open contract talks with him and his assistant Johnnie Jackson.

However, there is a fear among Addicks fans that the 42-year-old depart when his current deal expires in June.

The former Newcastle midfielder is likely to attract some interest from other clubs if he is not offered a new deal.

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Bristol Rovers are bracing themselves over summer interest for Jonson Clarke-Harris, according to HITC Sport.

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The report stats a number of Championship clubs are keeping tabs on his progress after netting seven goals in nine appearances since his January move from Coventry.

“I keep saying to Jono you have to work hard and do the basics," Gas manager Graham Coughlan told Bristol Live earlier this month.

"Get that consistency in your game and you won’t be playing in League One any longer.

“Jono keeps saying he wants to play in the Championship with me and I keep telling Jono, and I have been promising all his days, I will help him get there. I hope that is with this club.”

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Southend United have sacked Chris Powell after a run of 11 games without victory.

A short club statement read: "The results over a number of weeks, eleven games without a win, has impacted all concerned and immediate changes needed to be made.

"The Club’s interests are paramount, but the Board are nevertheless disappointed to see Chris Powell leave.

"Head of the Club’s highly successful Academy, Ricky Duncan, will take temporary charge of the first team squad."