Shrewsbury Town are leading the race to sign Sunderland defender Donald Love.

The 24-year-old is set to leave the Black Cats despite still having a year left on his contract at the Stadium of Light, according to a report by the Northern Echo.

Love, who is a former Scotland Under-21 international, has found first team opportunities hard to come by with the North-East club and could be handed a League One lifeline by Shrewsbury.

The Shrews’ boss, Sam Ricketts, is keen to further bolster his defensive ranks by landing Love. They have already brought in the likes of Ethan Ebanks-Landell, Steve Morison, Ryan Giles, Max O’Leary, Joe Murphy, Aaron Pierre, Daniel Udoh and Brad Walker but are still in the hunt for more acquisitions.

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Love’s career hasn’t quite got going yet and a move to New Meadow would be a fresh slate for him.

The Rochdale-born defender joined Manchester United’s academy at the age of seven and rose up through the youth ranks at Old Trafford. He was a key player for their youth teams as a youngster.

Love gained his first taste of first team football on loan in League One with Wigan Athletic during the 2015/16 season. He then made his United debut against Sunderland in the League Cup in February 2016 and went onto play once more for the Premier League giants.

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Sunderland snapped him up in August 2016 for £5.5 million along with Paddy McNair. However, he has played just 34 times in three years and is set to move on now.

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Writer and reporter for The72. Hull City fan. Cover all teams in the Football League. Based in Manchester/Sheffield.