Jack Ross reckons that the 3-0 against Scunny was pretty much perfect! “I think the fact we scored three and created opportunities, and we’ve kept a clean sheet, it was pretty much perfect in that sense. As a manager and a staff, when you look at it, I think every player made a contribution in different ways. The one thing I keep going back to is that I’ve asked a lot of the players in terms of formation and changes in what we’re trying to do, but their understanding of it has been really good. Even more importantly, their desire to do it has been excellent. Playing the way we do with the ball, you have to be brave and work really hard. Because we will give it away at times and then we have to react. We’ve been really good at that. That’s been one of the really pleasing things and I believe we’ll get better. There’s been loads of encouraging signs, but it’s still really early. I think what we’ve seen so far is a group that are trying to do that and play in a manner with high energy levels, getting after teams and playing in a really expansive manner. It’s just a start for us. We’ve got some really tough games to come here, and there’s always a real intensity about the games because of how opposition teams view it. Given the transition the club has been through and the fact we’ve had a lot of injuries early on, we’ve spoken to the players about different targets. I think we’ll have to do that again because the squad is continually being refreshed. I’m pleased with it, but we’d obviously like to do better. I’d rather have won all three games, but I think we can be satisfied. We’re building confidence because undoubtedly that’s something that hasn’t been here for a couple of years.”
Chris Maguire reckons that the first half performance against Scunny should be the standard we set ourselves for the rest of the season. “We don’t want teams coming here thinking, nice day out, big pitch, great stadium. We want to come and roll teams over. It’s a big statement because they’re always there and thereabouts. We want to get out of this league as quickly as we can. We knew we had to put a marker down at early at home, we’ve shown that we’re not going to sit and feel sorry for ourselves. The fans will come out and help us, you’ve seen that again. We’ve got to repay that but we want to get everyone together. It’s a new club really, right from the top. We got that tempo in the first half. It is a big pitch and we’re confident in the way we play, move it side to side quickly. It’s a big pitch and you can kill teams off. They’re always there and thereabouts, they’ve been in the play-offs, but we were brilliant today. It was good build-up to all three goals, and I’m delighted to get my first. I feel my performances have been good as well but it’s great to chip in with another goal. It was just instinct, really. It happened so quickly, [Lynden] Gooch firing it across goal, I’m not normally a poacher but I’ve managed to get in there and do it. I’ve played in every game and had three 90 now, which I think is more than I got in the whole of last season. I’m delighted, playing every week in front of this support, I’ll thrive on that. They’re brilliant and I’ll keep saying it. They’ve been great, and it is up to me to keep producing, keep showing how much I want to be here. It’s better than running out in front of five men and a dog, which I’ve had before! The backing gives us a real push forward.”
Jack Ross has also been praising our amazing support: “It sounds very simple, but it’s of the utmost importance. If you don’t have it, it’s very difficult to progress. What this club has got is something powerful in that sense. I’m lucky I’m manager of a club that has 30,000 home fans behind us. That can work both ways, and it’s happened here at times and I’m sure it might happen again on occasions. But if we get it going in the right way, it’s brilliant. The responsibility falls on me to keep putting a team on the pitch that reflects that passion from the stands. It’s been nice to give that back in two very different games at home and two very enjoyable games for the supporters. One of the things I believed I could try to address straight away was how we play in this stadium and the results we get here. We hammer home the importance to the players of making this a place where opponents dread coming to. I’ve been there myself, when I’ve been to Ibrox and Parkhead as a player in Scotland, they were horrible at times to go to because you knew what you would face in terms of the standard of the opposition and the way they would play. If they started in that manner, you knew the crowd would get behind them. It was difficult, you almost feel like you can’t breathe. That’s what we need to do to teams here. We want to make it a place where teams will look at the results and think they don’t want to come here.”
Meanwhile, the club have released the following statement regarding the Gillingham game. Sunderland AFC is advising supporters that tickets for Wednesday night’s game against Gillingham FC, at the Priestfield Stadium is now sold out. Over 2,000 Sunderland fans will be attending the game, which is a round-trip of over 600 miles. The Black Cats have now sold out their first three away fixtures. Supporters unable to get a ticket for Wednesday night’s match will still be able to watch all of the action, with the game being streamed live via the club’s official website.
Fans in the UK can watch league games which do not kick off during the Blocked Hours (2.45pm-5.15pm on a Saturday) and are not selected for broadcast by the EFL's broadcast partners.
HOW TO VIEW THE GAME
Supporters in the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man can watch the game for £10 (prices are set by the EFL). To sign up simply visit www.safc.com/video and follow the instructions. Supporters are asked to read the information carefully to ensure they can access the live stream. Due to EFL regulations, the live stream can only be viewed on laptop or PC. Supporters wishing to watch the game on a mobile or tablet, must download the official SAFSee App from the Apple Store or Google Play, then navigate to the Live section within the app and log-in using their SAFSee account. A help desk is available for supporters should they have any issues with accessing the service, email@example.com
Finally, if you are travelling on ALS coaches to Gillingham, can you get down to the SOL for 11.15? We are going to try and leave early to avoid the traffic and get more pre-match pub time...