The Team That Jack Built

Jack Ross will be looking to sort Josh Maja’s contract extension out as soon as all the transfer business is concluded. He explained: “From my perspective it is about trying to get the best out of Josh on the pitch. I think he’s been very receptive in that sense. Beyond that, I think it’s something that the club will address in the fullness of time. Until the window closes I think there will still remain that focus on some of the issues that we’ve got with some of the players that we need to move on. Having worked with him from early on, I always thought he’d be part of my first team squad. Most managers would tell you that they want four strikers. So even if another one did come in I think we’d just be in a really healthy position. What he’s done is probably promote himself much further up in my thinking than before I took the job. When he’s got more support up there I’ve got no doubts he can continue in that kind of goalscoring form because he’s a really good finisher. If he plays anywhere between 24 and 45 games this season, scores anywhere between eight and 15 goals or whatever, then that’s great for his career. Not just here but elsewhere because all of a sudden people are aware that he can do it at first team level.”

The gaffer also reckons that Lee Cattermole and Bryan Oviedo are still part of his plans, despite both players constantly being linked with loan moves away from the SOL: He explained: “When I took this job I tended to shy away from taking too much opinion before I took it. I wanted to gauge everyone myself and those two players have trained every day. Bryan had an extended break and I got off on a good foot because I gave him longer! They both trained today and did really well. I think they’re enjoying it and they enjoy the environment they’ve created. Naturally, all of these players looked at whether they wanted to play in League One and what challenges would that bring. But the challenge for me was to give them something that made them want to be involved in what we’re doing. I’ve taken every player as I’ve found them and those two there have been absolutely no problem to me. There’s a number of players that, it’s obvious with where we’re at contractually, that it’s going to be a big ask for the club to carry forward. We’ve managed to do a lot in a short space of time that has helped us to be in a healthier position, but again Stewart (Donald) would likely be able to give you more clarity on how that affects us moving forward. From my perspective, in terms of looking solely on football, he remains very much part of the squad at present.”

Ross then moved onto the question he is asked at every press conference. When he will sign another forward: “It might be that I’m being too honest in that respect, but I’m trying to be transparent in the discussions I’ve had with other clubs. I think it’s wrong to bring somebody in under false pretences. That’s not to say we wouldn’t bring somebody in who would go on to play every single week, but when Charlie and Jerome are fit, and with the form Josh is in, we’d have four strikers challenging for one or two positions, depending on how we play. I think it’s important to be clear. Some clubs and players are comfortable with that, but others aren’t. I’ve had experiences of that myself as a manager. I would never put that caveat on a loan player if I was loaning them out, but sometimes it happens when you’re loaning a player in. That can sometimes restrict who you’re able to sign.”

Adam Matthews was clearly struggling at Luton on Saturday but finished the game. However, it is expected to be rested against Sheff Wed. “Adam Matthews definitely won’t be involved,” Ross said. “He actually did well to get through the game on Saturday, I thought he might have to go off at half-time, but he managed to get through the game. Hopefully, he should be back for Sunday. We also have to manage Glenn Loovens. It’s a big ask for Glenn now to play three games in a week. If you add that to what we already had, we are limited and that’s why I have to weigh up the risk I take with other players as well.”