English Premiership

Steve Harper keeper joins Sunderland

Sunderland (File)
Sunderland (File)

London - Sunderland have signed former Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper until the end of the season, the Premier League strugglers confirmed on Friday.

Harper will provide back up to first choice keeper Vito Mannone and help mentor promising young reserve Jordan Pickford.

The 40-year-old, who was a free agent after leaving Hull at the end of last season, made 199 appearances for Sunderland's bitter rivals Newcastle during a 20-year stay at St James' Park.

Harper had been working as a coach at Middlesbrough's academy and as a radio pundit before Black Cats boss Sam Allardyce approached him following Costel Pantilimon's departure to Watford earlier this week.

"Steve will be a positive addition to our goalkeeping stable. He has vast experience at the top level and that can only be beneficial to Vito and Jordan as they continue to develop," Allardyce told Sunderland's website.

"He knows the club well and, as an Easington lad born and bred, he needs no introduction to Sunderland."