Sunderland, Birmingham City and Hull City are ‘battling it out’ to sign Doncaster Rovers defender Niall Mason, according to the Sun.

The 21-year-old moved to the Keepmoat Stadium from Aston Villa last year after a successful loan stint and played a major role in Doncaster’s promotion to League One.

The former Aston Villa man, who can play anywhere across the back four but has spent much of this season at full-back, has little more than a year left on his Doncaster contract.

The newspaper claims Sunderland want a pool of younger players who can not only get them out of League One but make an impact, too, at Championship level, leading them to 21-year-old Mason.

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Birmingham have given themselves a huge chance of offering Mason Championship football next term with three straight wins. Monk’s side continued their mini-revival by beating Bolton 1-0 at the Macron last night.

Hull chief Nigel Adkins will look to reshape the squad he inherited from Leonid Slutsky, who was sacked in December.

Sunderland, though, are the worst-placed of all the allegedly interested parties, the rest of whom are at least five points clear of the bottom three.

The second-from-bottom Mackems are eight points adrift with only six games remaining, which could leave Birmingham and Hull in a straight fight for the former Real Madrid youngster’s signature.

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Donny boss Darren Ferguson will be desperate to hold on to his defender as he plots a promotion charge next season.

Mason, born in South East London, is eligible to play for England, the USA or India through his parents.

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