Roadtrip to Burton

Jon McLaughlin is looking forward to Sunderland’s travelling army taking over Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium today. “In my time at Burton we were a force at home. We made that a place that was very difficult to come. In the Championship it was a little different but again in the first season teams didn’t like going there and it wasn’t easy for them. But if you can take a big following away it’s fantastic. At a ground like that which doesn’t hold that many, the more fans you can have as an away team, it can create a really partisan atmosphere. You could see the following we had at Gillingham and at Wimbledon, a much smaller ground, the fans were far more vocal than theirs and pulled us through. That’s been a key factor. It will be great again to see a big following go down there and really make it a good atmosphere for us to go and get a good win.”

Meanwhile, Jack Ross has been analysing Sunderland’s start to the season and overall he seems pretty satisfied with what we’ve achieved. “I’d probably take more comfort [from getting results while not playing at full potential] if I felt as if we were at the levels that I think we can get to,” he said. “Balanced with that is the resilience we’ve shown to get results and also, there’s been periods in every game where we’ve seen so many good things, and it’s just getting it all to come together. Last Sunday morning I watched the Fleetwood game back and the last 15 minutes of the first half were really good. Not just alright, really good. We dominated and scored, and the latter part of the second half again was good. We’re not going to dominate for 90 minutes, it’s just making sure that in the periods when we’re not dominant that we don’t concede. We did a little presentation to the players in the week just to emphasise to them that if you take those first 15 minutes out, we’d be having a really, really good season. The stats back that up and it’s good for the players to see that. I would see they can see it in black and white, but the way things are now we have all the nice colours on charts and what have you! But they can see it and that we can potentially win a lot of games. The fact that we’re getting results means it is less pressurised in terms of addressing it. You can do it in a much more positive manner because the players don’t see it as a panic situation. It’s important to do it even though we’re unbeaten because when you go through a sticky spell then the players will know that it’s something you do anyway, rather than thinking, ‘he’s panicking, we’re in crisis’. That consistency should help the players. They know that they can better individually, but they also know that, we showed a bit about our average points and what we’ve taken this season, if they’re replicated over the whole season, we get promoted. That’s been a good thing to show.”

In other news, Armenian international, Gael Andonian, who we had on trial, has been sent packing. Ross explained: “We had a decision to make in terms of how he fitted into the squad but equally now, we have some things to consider in terms of where we are with Papy and Didier, and how they weren’t resolved before most of those European windows closed. We need to address those first. But I’m not complaining about that, I did say at the time that as a squad, we’re in a healthy position in terms of what we’ve got in the time we had to put it together.”