Family ties land United new signing

Torbay Weekly

The father-son football link between Gary and Lee Johnson is alive and well after Torquay United's signing of Sunderland's young attacking midfielder Stephen Wearne on loan until the end of the season.

The Gulls made a series of signings from Bristol City when Johnson Jr was manager at Ashton Gate, but this is only the second time that they have taken a player since he moved to the Stadium Of Light just over a year ago.

Striker Benji Kimpioka is now in the Black Cats' first-team squad, and Wearne, 21, is on the same career path.

Born in Stockton-on-Tees, Wearne was with Newcastle United and Middlesbrough as a schoolboy before joining Sunderland's Academy.

United boss Johnson said: "He's been on the fringes of Sunderland's first team on a few occasions, and been playing in the Under-23s, so he comes here fit and looking to play regular games.

"Myself and Lee have been in touch obviously on lots of occasions, about family and professional matters, and I asked Lee to let me know when he's ready to loan Stephen out.

"We both know that he will fit into our system very well."

As well as PL2 appearances, Wearne has scored twice in EFL Trophy ties.

He arrives in time to be available for United's home game against Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday.