McLaughlin Call Up

Jon McLaughlin has been called up to the Scotland squad again, which raises the issue of whether the Wycombe Wanderers game, next Saturday, will be called off. Following the Blackpool postponement, Jack Ross is keen that no other games will be called off, but with our star keeper missing it could test his resolve. Ross said: "Certainly, from our planning at the minute, we would like to play the Wycombe game. When the squads take place and they are announced we will look at it but if we keep having games postponed over the course of the season it will really make it problematic. Ideally, we don’t want to keep doing that. We had justification against Blackpool because of the players we had unavailable, but we don’t want to keep doing that. We will have to assess it when the squads are announced but certainly my preference is to play that game against Wycombe.”

McLaughlin added: "That is the problem of this division, you don’t get the international breaks off. At the end of the day, this [Sunderland] is who pays the wages and this is where your real job is. Of course, it is fantastic to be called up for your country, you want to go there and be involved and do what you can. If you’re not playing, playing more of a supportive role if you like, and you’re going to be missing key games, then there is a decision to be made there. You need to have the conversations and make sure everyone gets the best result. Yourself, your country and the club. We’ll see what happens with that.”

In other news, Lynden Gooch has been chatting about his chances of being selected for his country, the USA. “Of course, I think it would be an amazing thing to be a part of. Being in this country for seven years now it would mean a lot to me to get called up. It’s something I would like to but it’s difficult in League One, we’ve got quite a few players playing in the Champions League for America now, so we’ll see what happens.”

But in the meantime, he’s loving his time at Sunderland: “I think some of our best performances as a team have been when we’re playing 3-5-2 with wing-backs. Obviously I’m getting the ball in good areas high up the pitch, so I’ve really enjoyed it and hopefully it can continue. The first time I’d played that position was the second half against Charlton in the opening game of the season. It was something new, the gaffer knew I hadn’t played in that position but he knew I was capable of doing a job for the team and luckily it worked and it’s helped the team so far.”

Elsewhere and Sunderland AFC goalkeeping coach Jimmy Walker has joined Ipswich Town. Jack Ross explained: “We are sad to see Jimmy go but understand his reasons. He leaves with our very best wishes for the future.”

Walker added: “It was a very difficult decision for me, as I have loved every minute at Sunderland and it’s a fantastic club. Being away from my family in recent months has been challenging so I would like to thank everyone at the club, especially the manager and staff, for their understanding. I wish the club and the fans every success for the rest of the season.”

Finally, George Honeyman enjoyed filling in for Lee Cattermole in central midfield last weekend at Plymouth and has been talking his role in the Sunderland set up. “We knew early on in the week that Catts was going to miss out. Early on in the season against Peterborough when he was suspended I wanted to put my marker down in the middle of midfield but unfortunately I took a whack and I couldn’t play. So going in the game against Plymouth, I knew I was going to be in central midfield and knowing how influential Catts has been this season, I really wanted to put down my own marker and make it feel as though whoever plays in there we’re good enough to cope. I played a lot with Dylan in pre-season and we were pretty successful, but I enjoy playing with everyone in there. We’ve got a fantastic squad and anyone that comes in everyone is doing their bit and it’s a really joy to be in and around the team at the moment. Whoever is coming into the side is not only doing a job, but they are doing their job really well. I haven’t really nailed down a position yet. I guess other people might be worried about that but as far as I’m concerned, I think it’s a good thing. That’s because I give myself more opportunities to play because I can play in different positions. Maybe in years to come [central midfield] it may turn out to be my final position but for the time being I’m more than happy to do whatever the manager tells me. As long as I’m out on the pitch I don’t care. I feel proud to be part of the team that I am immensely proud to be captain. But it really does feel as though we’re only just getting started – the best is definitely yet to come. We’re doing well because we are coming into games with a strong mindset. We always seem to go from strength to strength in games – as shown by the fact we seem to really come good in second halves. We’ve won five league games on the spin but we’re setting our sights higher - we want to make it ten wins on the spin – at least. We want to keep this run going and get ourselves to the top of League One. It’s a real pleasure to be around the team and now we’ve got to set our sights on breaking more records as the season unfolds.”

Finally, we have been allocated 4,195 tickets for Port Vale away in the FA Cup. Tickets will go on sale on Thursday, November 1 to season card holders with 10 or more Black Cat points. All season card holders will be able to purchase tickets on Friday, November 2, before they go on general sale on Monday, November 5. Tickets are priced at £15 for adults, £10 for over-65s and under-22s while under-18s will pay £5. You can find more information by visiting the club's website. To book travel with ALS click here