Several clubs have declared an interest in the player but it is a straight fight between the Dons and the Black Cats with Morgan understood to prefer being reunited with his former St Mirren manager Jack Ross. who is desperate to boost his attacking options after his Sunderland team fell out of League One’s automatic promotion positions recently and he views the 22-year-old as a key addition.
Morgan has struggled for game time since moving to Parkhead last summer having started only one match for Brendan Rodgers’ side so far.
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes was hoping the success of Celtic midfielder Ryan Christie’s loan spell at Pittodrie would influence things in his favour but Morgan will move to the Stadium of Light instead if the clubs can agree terms.
The Dons feared they might lose Scott McKenna during the transfer window after rejecting Aston Villa’s £7 million bid for the defender last year and they have, but only through injury. For how long will be determined by yesterday’s scan on the hamstring damage suffered in the weekend draw with Kilmarnock but it couldn’t have come at a worst time.
Aberdeen follow tonight’s Scottish Cup replay at Stenhousemuir with league games at Easter Road and at home to Rangers between now and next Wednesday, and Dons assistant manager Tony Docherty’s main hope is that McKenna is not sidelined for six weeks as he was with a similar problem earlier this season.
He said:“Scott went for a scan yesterday. We’re awaiting the full extent of it but fingers crossed it won’t be the severity of last time.
“Scott’s reaction when he came off against Kilmarnock certainly indicates that. Tommie Hoban did a great job when he came on and he’ll come into contention. “
Greg Stewart will definitely start tonight but insists he will only sign a long-term deal with Aberdeen after proving he is fitter and sharper than the player who left Pittodrie last summer.
The forward admits to not doing himself justice during that season-long loan from Birmingham City. He scored only four goals in 38 games for Aberdeen in stark contrast to his eight in 16 appearances for Kilmarnock earlier in this campaign – form which rekindled Derek McInnes’ interest iand he has already offered Stewart the chance to make the move permanent.
There is a lucrative three-year-deal available when his contract with the English Championship side ends in May but the player wants to prove he is worthy of it first.
Stewart said:”I didn’t know what would happen when I was called back to Birmingham, then when the chance came to come back to Aberdeen it felt like unfinished business. I felt I could have done more last season. All that’s on my mind is showing that and doing well for the team.
“I certainly haven’t spoken about anything past the summer as I need to concentrate on what I can do for Aberdeen now and what happens will take care of itself.If I get the chance to sign for longer then great but that is not something that I’m at all worried about.
“I’m one of those players who needs to be playing every week as I seem to feel sharper and fitter if I am and you get about the pitch more.”
Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke was understandably upset at losing the player he thought was at Rugby Park for the entire season, and the Ayrshire club’s travelling support made their feelings clear when they jeered Stewart’s every touch during their 0-0 draw at Pittodrie.
The player himself admits he owes a lot to Clarke and his former team-mates after a difficult time at Birmingham City and Aberdeen.
He added:”I felt as though I Iearned from the experience that it’s not always hunky dory in football.
“It was a good time for me at Kilmarnock and I respect the things they are doing at the club as it’s a great bunch of boys and really good behind the scenes as well.
“I don’t know if the team suited me playing there this season but I played off the striker more during my time at Kilmarnock. That’s where I play my best I think and if I can play there here then hopefully I can reproduce what I did at Rugby Park.”