Simon Grayson is delighted to see former Preston North End loan goalkeeper Jordan Pickford on the verge of a big-money move back to the Premier League.
Everton have agreed a £30m fee with Sunderland to take Pickford to Goodison Park this summer.
He will have a medical with the Toffees when he returns from playing for England Under-21s at the European Championships.
Pickford played 27 games for North End while on loan from Sunderland in the first half of the 2015/16 season, keeping 13 clean sheets.
Six of those clean sheets were kept in successive games in October and November 2015.
Grayson told the Post: “We saw what a good goalkeeper Jordan was during his time with us and it is not a surprise to see him close to making a big move.
“The £30m fee is a bit of a surprise but I suppose that is the going rate for a keeper of his standard – Manchester City have just paid nearly £35m for Ederson.
“Jordan is a really down to earth lad and is great to have around a club.
“I text him the other day about my charity bike ride and straight away he donated to my just giving page.
“Alan Kelly speaks to him quite often, he worked closely with Jordan.
“The lad was exceptional for us during his loan spell.
“He kept us in a few games with some great displays and won us a lot of points.
“We wanted to keep him for the full season but Sunderland called him back.
“Jordan has worked hard to get to where he has.
“Before coming to us, he had been on loan on Alfreton, Burton, Carlisle and Bradford.
“He had got out there and been prepared to play at non-league level and in the lower divisions.”
Pickford was Sunderland’s first-choice keeper for most of last season, nominated for the PFA young player of the year despite their relegation.