Sunderland had to settle for a point after drawing one all with promotion rivals Luton Town on Saturday afternoon in a fiery encounter which saw both teams end the game with ten men. Sunderland took the lead in the first half in front of a crowd of over 37k through Chris Maguire before the visitors equalised from the penalty spot through James Collins as both sides gained a point on Portsmouth who lost.
Jack Ross explained Josh Maja’s absence: "I know that there'll be 101 different theories as to why he wasn't involved. I think generally I tell the truth. So when I see he was ill, that is the case. I first got word around 10 o'clock last night that he was feeling unwell, he deteriorated over night and didn't get any better this morning. The doctor went to see him this morning and he wasn't well, he had a stomach bug. One, Josh is absolutely not the kind of lad where that wouldn't be the case. Two, there is absolutely nothing happening with any club in terms of him leaving. Three, he just wasn't well. It is as straightforward as that."
Ross also discussed the referee’s performance, after he sent both Chris Maguire and Luton’s Danny Hylton off. He said: "I don’t think either of them were a red card. I don’t think Danny Hylton’s was a red, if anything I thought the challenge that James Collins was later cautioned for was worse. I’m not saying he should have been sent off, I just thought Hylton should have been cautioned. Chris Maguire, the fourth official tells me he was sent off for a stamp, which he didn’t do. The penalty kick was debatable but there is a foul on Maguire in the build-up that is a free-kick. I’ve not a discussion with the club but having watched it, I would expect to [appeal it]. What I’ve seen and what the fourth official has told me, it doesn’t marry up. When you watch it you will see where I am coming from. I don’t want it to deflect from any deficiencies in our performance but there were some poor decisions. That’s not just my opinion, there is an element of fact around that. I’ve had them as a coach and as a manager. It happens. He had a poor game today and I think I’m allowed to say that, that’s my opinion and a lot of other peoples. Not just the big decisions either."