With two home games and the arrival of Jimmy Dunne imminent, it looks like it’ll be a busy week at Sunderland AFC. First up the Mags game tonight and Jerome Sinclair is set to get a much-needed run out as Charlie Wyke is rested. Sinclair hasn’t featured a great deal of late and many wonder if he’ll return to his parent club this window. Jack Ross said: “I still speak to Jerome all the time. I’ve said it before, but I really like him as a young man and his attitude to being here on loan is really good. He also wants to play regularly. The good thing is, I hope he would say, I still talk to him as much now as when he was in the team. I always think, as a manager, take Blackpool as an example, you can get caught up in the euphoria, we’ve won, big away crowd, tough game, great. The story of Jimmy Dunne's career so far and what the talented defender could bring to Sunderland You can forget about someone like Jerome who hasn’t been involved and how disappointing that is for them. I always make a note of it so I can deal with that. He is frustrated because he wants to play. Not in the sense that he is ticked off because he’s a good boy, he’s also very honest that his consistency levels have been up and down. He’s still trained well in that period which is all I can ask. His approach, attitude and demeanour hasn’t wobbled at all which I’m pleased about. Equally, he’s a loan player, and it needs to be worthwhile for everyone. I have a duty to him in terms of how he progresses his career. At the moment [expect him to stay]. Again, it’s an ongoing conversation. We’d still be having that even he was playing every week and scoring hat-tricks. As long as you’re communicating regularly and we both have an understanding of where he’s at, then that’s good. Then you know if he needed to play more regularly or we felt it was right then we could have that conversation. Hopefully tonight he’ll get an opportunity to get back on the pitch and I’ve encouraged him to go and enjoy it. He deserves it for how he’s kept going, how his approach has been.”

Ross could do without the Newcastle cup clash sandwiched in between two important league games, but still discussed the merits of the competition: “I think once you progress from the group and you get to the knockout stages, you start to understand that you’re only a handful of games away from being at Wembley for a cup final,” he said. “It is appealing and naturally, there’s a lot of people that would get excited about it because of the size of the support we would take to a cup final. I’ve never shied away from the fact that from the start of the season or even now, it’s not our absolute priority or our ultimate ambition. But given the progress we’ve made in the tournament, we want to continue to go as far as we can and ideally, get to the final and win it.”

Meanwhile, Luke O’Nien has also been previewing the Mags game and was obviously enthusiastic and excited! “What I learnt last year at Wycombe when we got promoted (from League Two last season) is that momentum’s key. Every game plays a part in that. Tonight’s a big game. It’s against Newcastle and it doesn’t matter if it’s their under-23s or their under-16s, I don’t need to explain the rivalry there. It’s an important game and we’re three games from Wembley (which hosts the final). It would be one of my dreams to play there. It’s going to be a tough game. It doesn’t matter who you play against, it’s 11 against 11 so we’ll look to put another marker down, put in a good performance and come away with a win. I think we’re in a very good place. I look at every game, even the ones where we’ve dropped points, and we’ve had the chances to win them. If you’re not creating chances you’re probably thinking otherwise but we’re creating chances and we’re pretty solid too. The deflected goal (in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Charlton Athletic) was a bit unlucky but we’re sitting third in the table with a game in hand and a big game coming up on Saturday, so I think we’re in a good place with a good platform now to push on. We’ve just got to get points on the board, that’s what we need to do now. The situation’s always in our own hands, I feel, because we can go out and win every game, I thoroughly believe that. It’ll be a good game (against Luton) and we have to rest up before Tuesday’s game and focus on that before we get too excited about Saturday and Luton. On Tuesday we’ve got a job to do. Playing at right-back you can see the game unfolding and I saw a bit of space. Football’s all about decision-making and wherever you are on the pitch you’ve got to make the right decision. As for a goal target? Ten? I like ten. That sounds good. I scored eight last year so I want to top that as quickly as I can. I might try and catch Maj but I might need a couple more seasons for that!”