As we exclusively announced yesterday, Dylan McGeouch has joined us today from Hibs. Jack Ross was full of praise for the 25 year old saying: “Dylan has been really good for Hibernian and that’s culminated in him earning international recognition. There were a lot of teams interested in him because he’s at a good stage in his career and he’s absolutely desperate to come down to England and show people how good a player he is. The fans will like him because he’s got a lot of quality.”
Wigan full back Reece James has also signed after being released by The Latics. Manager Jack Ross hailed the 24 year old left-back's attacking threat: “He’s another new signing who is at a good age, and he’s very good in the final third which will be a big for us next season as we try to get our full-backs high up the park. He’s another good addition and I think it’s exciting to see that we’re trying to build something.”
We have also brought in 18-year-old Jordan Hunter on a free transfer from Liverpool, to bolster Elliott Dickman’s under-23s. Hunter said: "I’m so excited to be here, I really can’t wait to get started. I’ve met a few of the lads already and I was straight into training this morning, it’s been a real whirlwind. I’m hoping to do well for the under-23s this season and I’d like to eventually push on and give Jack Ross something to think about when he comes to picking the team."
Jack Ross is doing what he can to hang onto both Joel Asoro and Josh Maja and he’s been encouraged by their attitude while at pre-season training camp in Portugal. Despite this ALS understands that Asoro’s agent, in particular, is working with a number of big clubs in the hope he can cash in and move his player on. Ross said: “Any discussion has probably been a little on the back-burner because those involved in that side of things have been focused on players potentially leaving and coming in. With both young men, I’ve spoken to them and enjoyed starting to work with them. I think they’re at stages of their career where they have to weigh up might be best for them in the short term. Is it best to play regularly, have a good, positive season or is it best to move on to a higher level and maybe not play first-team football? I can’t answer that, only they can. “But, certainly, they don’t seem unhappy to be here. We have to foster that [positivity], but then, of course, the contractual situation changes. If a player doesn’t want to sign and they’re of a certain age, then the club has a decision to make. But it has been good so far – they’re lively lads.”
Elsewhere, Andrew Nelson, Bali Mumba, Elliot Embleton, Denver Hume and Max Stryjek have all been given the chance to impress in Portugal this week, but Jack Ross is still keen to loan fringe players out once he’s happy with his squad. Ross explained: “I’m a big advocate of players going on loan. Every job I’ve had, I’m a big believer in players playing football. It’s surprised me that some of the young players here, at the age they’re at, haven’t really played competitive football. They’ve probably gone too long without doing that. Those ones that are going to travel, there’ll be a couple that are probably going to be around things, but then there’ll also be a couple that need to go out on loan. They’ll enjoy that, and it will stand them in good stead, not just for their career here, but for their career in general. I can assess them better when I can see them with my own eye, and get a feel for where they’re at, and also what level might suit them, in terms of a loan move.”
Meanwhile, after being unable to play Boro at the SOL, we are now set to face them at the Riverside Stadium on Friday 27 July, in a 7.30pm kick off. Ticket details and ALS bus travel will be will be confirmed in due course.
In other news, Gary Bennett reckons we need to add pace, strength and power if we are to be a success in League One. Bennett said: “We talk about recruitment and the type of player you want to bring into the football club. In terms of physicality for Sunderland last season, we weren’t a match to anybody. Generally last season, the Sunderland team was small and lightweight. We were outmuscled. That was the Championship, in League One it will be even worse. You come up against big, strong lads. The players you come up against may not have the same level of ability but what they will do, they will run for 90 minutes – are we strong enough to cope or battle with that? At the present moment, from what we have seen from last season, you’d have to say no. In League One, we will be dealing with a lot crosses into the box, second balls, it is going to be A to B. Once it settles down then hopefully you can go and play, but mentally you have to make sure you are strong and can cope with that physicality, certainly for the first 20 or 30 minutes of games. You will get tested.”