Gooch Happy

While the whole of Sunderland waits to see if Josh Maja signs his new deal, Lynden Gooch is delighted and relieved he’s sorted his future out. "It took a while but I'm glad it's over with now. It was just one of those thing that happens. I wanted to get it done as soon as possible but it's one of those things that just dragged out. Just the situation the club's in, we've never really been in League One and my agent's worked with the previous regime as well so for some reason it took some time. Our aim this season is promotion and we want to go up as champions as well. I'm happy it's over the line and now I can focus on that. From day one I've had a close relationship with the manager and I've said I wanted to play at the highest level possible. Hopefully we can get promoted this year and continue on that journey. The manager's been terrific for me and I've played more football for Sunderland this season than I have any other season so I'm just hoping I can repay that faith by helping them to win games. I want to get back into the USA national team but I know it's going to be difficult in League One. I've just got to keep playing well and producing good performances and if we go up, that's something I'll look at in the summer or next season. Saturday (Shrewsbury) was disappointing. I don't really know why, especially in the first half, it was so flat. The second half was much better. But at Blackpool you could see from the first whistle we penned them in early doors, got that goal and we were probably unlucky not to get another one just to calm the nerves a bit but we got the three points. There were a few heart-in-mouth moments and that's always going to happen if the game is so close at 1-0. They were going to chuck everything at it but we stayed resilient. What you saw on Tuesday, in terms of support, I don't think you'd get that at any other club in this division, and maybe not the Championship either. They've supported me since the day I made my debut so it was amazing after the game on Tuesday to be able to go around and thank them al. It felt like a home game, seeing red and white everywhere. There were so many empty seats on their side of the ground and completely filled on ours. It was amazing to hear that backing. It's like that every week, so long may it continue."

Jack Ross has explained why he rested Duncan Watmore at Blackpool on New Year’s Day. Ross said: “It is probably an example of how we will have to manage him through this period, I have stressed it often enough. People can get carried away and think that is him fit. He has had two years out the game. Mentally and physically that will take a toll, I have a responsibility to manage him, how his body feels and how he feels, it was a combination of the two. It is nothing untoward, he just wasn’t quite right for Blackpool. I would hope he would be able to play some part Saturday. If not, we remain patient. It is nothing related to his knee, which is positive. He has played four games in nine days, albeit only starting one but still been involved, so psychologically there is a pressure that builds with that and getting used to playing games and pressures that games bring that he has not had for two years. He is almost having to retrain himself. I have no issue with that. He knows I understand that and he has already helped us pick up points and will continue to do so. Once we are through the next two to three week period, again that will be another step forward. Every manager in the country would agree that it’s probably not logical really, in terms of how quickly they [games] come around. Not just the physical demands on the players, but the mental demands of the preparation time for everybody too. There is an element of grinding out results in that period, and while we would like to have won every won, if we can keep putting points on the board, and keep chipping away at totals, then we’re pleased, and we’re continuing to do that.”