Sunderland have signed Forest Green Rovers captain Carl Winchester on a two-and-a-half year deal.

Sunderland were said to be ‘close’ to agreeing the signing of Winchester earlier in the week. The 27-year-old is formerly of Oldham Athletic and Cheltenham, having signed for Forest Green ahead of he 2018/19 season.

He’s since made 100 league appearances for the League Two side, having scored twice in 18 league outings this season.

Sunderland though have completed the signing for an undisclosed fee, and speaking to the club ahead of his move, Winchester said:

“It’s a massive club and once I heard about the interest, there was only one place I wanted to come.

I’ll give my all for the team and I’ll go out there and wear my heart on my sleeve. The Head Coach believes in me and I believe in myself. I’m coming into my prime, so I’m hoping I can settle in well with the lads and kick on from there.”

He becomes Johnson’s first signing as Sunderland boss, reuniting with the former Oldham manager at the Stadium of Light.

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The Black Cats have shown some signs of progression in Johnson’s short tenure to date but have had postponements to deal with. They drew 1-1 with promotion chasing Hull City yesterday, with the visit of Port Vale in the EFL Trophy play-offs next up.

Speaking on Winchester’s arrival, Johnson said:

“After assessing our squad and establishing the profile of midfielder we wanted to bring in, we evaluated all the elements, inclusive of the data, and felt that Carl was the right player to add to our squad.

“He is a good player who is in the prime of his career, and his versatility means he can play in a number of positions, ensuring he will also bring depth to our squad.

“When he was a young player at Oldham, every top club wanted him, which shows the potential he has always had. He has represented some good clubs, but in terms of division, we believe he has been playing below his natural level.”

Winchester will slot into the Sunderland midfield and hopefully give them an extra edge both going forward and back. Sunderland have stayed fairly resilient this season with 15 goals conceded in 19 league fixtures, but they’ve only managed 24 goals.

Johnson will hope that Winchester can hit he ground running and help Sunderland back on their way to the top-six spot – they currently sit in 10th-place of the table with a couple of games in hand, and three points separating them from the top-six.