Ross’ Way

Jack Ross has been chatting about keeping the squad happy and he feels as we approach a situation where all the players (except Charlie Wyke) are fit, it’ll create healthy competition within the playing staff, which will in turn help the club succeed. He explained: “We’re getting closer to the point where players have a real understanding that they have to play well to keep their place in the team. I don’t like using it as fear for motivating players to do well but I think they can see it themselves, they’re not silly. They can see that the depth is there. Ideally as a manager you want two players to compete for each position, that’s quite old-fashioned but I think most managers would say the same. We have that and a little bit more when you have the emergence of someone like Denver [Hume] who has increased competition in his position. It should help us and drive players on. Every player at every club will believe that they should be playing. The one thing I’ll always do is communicate with players. Ideally, I’d do that before I name the team, but you don’t always get that chance. I’ve had loads of players in the past and I’m sure I will continue to do so who come into my office and they don’t always leave happy, but at least there’ll have been a conversation. The only problem is if that unhappiness becomes reflected in their work on the training pitch. As long as it doesn’t then if they don’t agree with me then it is just part of my job, if I didn’t want to do it then I’d be the coach or assistant. Then you get to say, ‘Yeah, I agree, I’d have picked you!’. That’s just part of the job.”

Ross also reckons that players being in and out of the treatment room hasn’t helped him get his footballing philosophy over as quickly as he’s hoped. He explained: “Some of the players are probably further ahead in terms of understanding what we want because the injured ones aren’t on the training pitch every day,” said Ross. “They’re not always in the analysis meetings because we stagger when players are coming in for rehab and training to avoid players sitting about. The evolution of what you do can be missed by some of them. Duncan Watmore, for example, will miss quite a lot of these things because he’s missed quite a lot through rehab. Tom Flanagan is different because he did a lot of pre-season with us, so he’s a bit more aware, but they’re still playing catch-up in that respect. I know a lot of people think when you get a player back from injury it’s just physical and fitness. But every single week they stayed healthy, they become more accustomed to what we’re trying to do. As a team, are they an absolute reflection of how we’re trying to do things? Maybe not,” he added. “But I’ve been delighted with what they’ve given me, how resilient they’ve been and their response to going behind in games. We can get better in every aspect of the game, and they also believe that. That’s important as a manager because if they’re sitting there thinking, ‘Do you know what? I’m giving my absolute maximum’ you might have an issue. They all know, individually, some of them can improve, and as a group we’ll get stronger and better.”