Ten man Sunderland fought back from a goal behind to draw 1-1 with Oxford at the SOL on Saturday and remain unbeaten in the league. The visitors had taken an early lead through Ricky Holmes after Sunderland started the game slowly. Max Power was then sent off for a reckless tackle before second half sub and debutant Charlie Wyke notched his first goal for the club and gave the lads a share of the spoils. Jack Ross had this to say afterwards: “There were loads of different things we didn’t dwell on from the first half at half-time, that was the time to figure out how to get back in the game. I will look at myself as well in terms of how we set up, we allowed ourselves to go on the back foot. We conceded to a very good set piece but the sending off galvanised us a bit, gave us a spark and then the opening 25 minutes of the second half I thought we were good. It was testament to the desire and character to get something. It’s indicative of the character we have shown all season, different personnel and different contributions, and I think the supporters recognise that as well. We will not be satisfied with losing points here against anyone, we want to win every game. The players are disappointed with that, but the response they got from the supporters during the period with ten men was fantastic. Charlie played a lot longer than planned or should have. We had a couple of decisions to make at half-time and Charlie was one of those. It’s an ideal start for Charlie and credit to the backroom staff for getting him back and through it.”
Ross also touched on how hard teams will try and make it for us, by raising their game when they come to the SOL. Ross said: “The resilience side of it has been good but our mentality still has to improve in terms of the challenges we will face in this league and how we deal with them, the games have been very different. What I am finding is every away game has a real intensity about it but so do the home games. Teams are coming here and it is a massive game, the away support, it is seen as a terrific stadium to visit and the opposition players are rising to that. They will also be thinking ‘if we get a result, it is fantastic scalp to take’. It is about understanding that, I include myself too. The resilience side has been outstanding and that is a big sea change for them. They understand they are facing a lot of challenges in the opening games and they know they can do it. They are showing it time after time. I have spoken a lot about how we have made the pitch longer and wider again, to hopefully help us at home. Then we have had to play on that pitch for almost 80 minutes [including added-on time] with ten men. It is a big physical effort to do that, we are chasing the game as well and it adds to that.”
After failing to loan out both Papy Djilobodji and Didier Ndong, Djilobodji will return to training this week, so he can start getting paid again and Ndong left his home town in Gambon this weekend, so hopefully he's heading to Portugal, where the transfer window is open until September 21. Jack Ross said: "I haven't really [thought about what happens if they don't move]. Stewart, Tony and Richard have I'm sure taken guidance on where the club would be at [if they return to try and earn their wage] because there have been several breaches of their obligations. It's always bubbled on with the expectation it would reach an end point because I don't think there's a single ounce of desire from the players to come back. Which as I've said, is sad really in terms of where they are in their careers. I work on the day to day basis of preparing the players properly and as a club, I don't think we've ever believed it would be the case. It still nags of course, and it would be remiss to completely rule it out but hopefully it won't be the case."