Exclusive: Kevin Phillips expects new deals at Sunderland from Monday

Kevin Phillips has claimed Sunderland are “scared” to give out new contracts after the club confirmed Tommy Smith had been released. 

The Stadium of Light legend, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, suggested new deals could be on the horizon once the fate of the current season has been decided.

The club confirmed that Smith, 30, had left the club upon the expiration of his contract having arrived in February on a short-term deal.

The centre-back, who has 38 caps for New Zealand, left without making an appearance for Phil Parkinson’s side.

Duncan Watmore, Aiden McGeady, Jon McLaughlin, Kyle Lafferty, Chris Maguire, Luke O’Nien and Tom Flanagan are but some of the other first-team players out of contract at the end of the month.

Phillips believes the future of such players will become clear after Monday’s EFL meeting.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

“Every club is reluctant to give out new contracts because they are scared,” he told Football Insider.

“They do not know what is going to happen financially.

“It does not surprise me that they have released him. A lot of clubs have released a lot of players but it is about getting the balance right.

“They will need to keep players, like a Bailey Wright, but unfortunately for Tommy he has been released.

“I do not see many contracts being dished out until they know the fate of the season is decided on Monday.”

On 8 June League One clubs will vote on whether to curtail the current season – a proposal that would see the Black Cats miss out on the Play-Offs and promotion.

Football League clubs have suffered great financial losses over the past two months with their income heavily reliant on gate receipts.

In other Sunderland news, Danny Mills has told Football Insider club should be allowed access to “50million slush fund”.