Sunderland’s pursuit of Danny Graham is likely to have hit the same buffers as Portsmouth’s interest in Charlie Mulgrew.

The introduction of the League One salary cap last week is set hamper the bigger clubs in the third tier, with the Black Cats and Ipswich Town having been linked with moves for free agent Graham.

Players signed from now on will see their whole salary count towards each club’s £2.5m cap that they must adhere to after it was voted through last week, but that is expected to face opposition from the Professional Footballers' Association.

Graham endured a tough time on Wearside before his switch to Rovers in 2016, scoring just once in his three-and-a-half years at the club after a £5.5m move. However, the club now find themselves scrapping to get out of League One, and after 17 goals for Rovers in their promotion campaign of 2017/18, Graham, who turned 35 on Wednesday, had been earmarked for a return to the Stadium of Light.

Boss Phil Parkinson had previously tried to sign Graham during his time at Bolton, and he has been critical of the cap, believing it has been done without taking in to the account the best interests of football.

"The salary cap decision on Friday has made it difficult for us, and we have to change our way of thinking slightly," Parkinson told the club's SAFC Unfiltered podcast.

"We've got a good base to work from at this stage but we need another five players and we have to work out how we get those players in.

"We tried to get a couple of players in before Friday but those deals didn't get over the line, but it was really the agents' and the players' decision.

"We have had to change tack a little bit over the last couple of days and reassess what we are going to do.

"I'm still confident we will have a strong squad, but maybe one or two players that we thought we might have been able to get last week are not in the marketplace for us now."

Portsmouth had been keen to sign Mulgrew to a permanent deal, according to reports on the south coast, but their pursuit of the 34-year-old is all but over after the salary cap introduction.

Kenny Jackett’s side could push for a loan deal, should they look to maintain their interest in the Scotland international who was a key part of Rovers’ promotion winning side.

Mulgrew has been frozen out of the first-team picture at Rovers, featuring in just two matchday squads after his January return from a loan spell at Wigan, but still has 12 months left on his contract.

The first of Rovers’ five players to be released has since secured a new deal, Richie Smallwood signing for Hull City after his three-year association with Rovers came to an end.

The 29-year-old agreed a two year deal, with the option for a third, and will be eyeing a third promotion from League One with the Tigers next season.

A third Rovers player to be released last month was Dominic Samuel, with the 26-year-old have been in talks with Championship new boys Rotherham United.

Talks had reached an advanced stage with the attacker and the Millers, but sources in south Yorkshire say that has now hit a snag, but could still go through.

Back-up goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler is also searching for a new club, with the 31-year-old having played just 13 times across his three-year Rovers career.

The Canadian international has previously hinted at the possibility of a move to America, as he looks to establish himself as a No.1 again in a bid to push forward his international credentials.

Sam Hart, who has spent time with Southend, Rochdale and Shrewsbury Town during his Rovers stay, is also on the hunt for a new club.

A possible move to Blackpool, where he would link up with his former Academy coach at Liverpool, Neil Critchley, is a possibility.