Will Buckley is a victim of circumstance - Gary Rowett

Buckley joined Blues on loan in mid-January, when Blues were still very much in the fight for a play-off spot.

But with that scenario looking a tough ask, Rowett already has one eye on next season, hence his desire to look to the future. 

"I spoke to Will about that and said it’s nothing personal, but it’s very difficult for me to put Will in the matchday squad instead of Viv," said the Blues boss.

"That would be me not doing my job properly.

"If you look at some of the others like Jon Toral, it’s very difficult to leave Jon out of the matchday squad because of his involvement this season.

"Ryan Shotton has given us something different that I’m just intrigued by and I think everyone else is as well.

"Will is a difficult one that I’ve almost had to make a decision and say ‘Look I’m not ruling anything out but I’ve got to be fair to someone like Viv who is the future for us’.

"Realistically Will is not going to be here next season.

"He’s got another year left at Sunderland. I think he understands that.

"Of course as a professional he’s frustrated because he’s come to play games and wants to play games, but I’ll always try and be honest with the players and make those big decisions if I think it’s for the benefit of the group."