Big Mac releases Irish stars

Sunderland manager Mick McCarthy will not be renewing the contracts of Irish pair Jason McAteer and Phil Babb.

Sunderland manager Mick McCarthy will not be renewing the contracts of Irish pair Jason McAteer and Phil Babb.

The Republic of Ireland internationals will be joined on the way out by other young Irish players Michael Reddy and Mark Rossiter, along with Joachim Bjorklund, Paul Thirlwell, and Patrick Collins.

McCarthy is still in talks with Jeff Whitley, Tommy Smith, Darren Byfield, John Oster, Richie Ryan and Neil Teggart about renewing their deals, which expire next month.

Chairman Bob Murray told the club’s official website, www.safc.com: “Mick has taken decisions and there will be more changes to come so that we can mount a challenge to achieve Premiership status by the end of next season.

“The number of players who are out of contract gives Mick the opportunity to determine the squad that starts pre-season training, unlike last year when he inherited a very difficult situation with a big squad, many of which were to leave, which he managed amazingly.

“The club is spurred on by the achievements of Mick and the players in reaching the FA Cup semi-final and third place in Division One, and it is up to the board and everyone at the club to do their utmost to ensure that next season is successful.”

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