Don’t Ever Change

Ahead of the visit of Plymouth Argyle Jack Ross reckons that he won’t ever change his style of play. “It has been fairly consistent throughout my management career,” Ross said. “We have had a lot of draws this season, too many, but I don’t think any of them have been because we have tried to stifle the game, it has just been the way the games have panned out. Craig Samson on my staff would give you the best insight into that as he played as a goalkeeper under me and he knew how difficult it was to keep clean sheets! I enjoyed the Gillingham game, I like it when we play like that,” he added. “I would obviously like us to keep more clean sheets because we have scored in every league game this season, so then naturally you give yourself more of a chance of winning the game. It is very difficult to get both, that perfection, it is really challenging. I would take how we performed in the last three home games nine times out of 10 because we have looked threatening. If I am watching as a neutral or one of our fans, I would have enjoyed it. You have to adjust as to how you are as a squad within the league and what your ambitions are. Naturally for us, the ambition is to be promoted and we have always viewed ourselves as one of the stronger teams in the league. I’d expect us to always play the game on the front foot. Naturally if you are in charge of a team in the lower part of the league then you have a different approach to it. I have had that, at my first management job, at Alloa, a part-time team in a league with Rangers and Hibs in the league, it was a different approach then. I am fortunate to have the tools at my disposal to enable us to play that way and enough good players in the squad to deal with that.”

In other news, Robbie Stockdale has been discussing the impact of the Netflix documentary “Sunderland ‘til I die” on the 2017/18 season, during which time he was caretaker manager. “I’ve been in professional football for over 20 years and in the last six months I’ve been recognised more from being on a TV programme rather than doing all the right things for 20-odd years. Sunderland was a massive part of my life, both good and bad. The Netflix documentary, I haven’t watched it, to be honest. People have and they’ve told me what it’s all about, it was a tough year and a tough couple of years and I really hope they get back to where they deserve to be. There’s lot of really good people at the club, people who I’m still in touch with – players etc. It was not always within peoples’ control what happened. I’m not one for looking back, there was no particular reason why I’ve not watched it. The guys who filmed it were fantastic. They were Sunderland fans who produced it as well but that’s in the past - I have no ties with the club anymore and it’s full focus on that. You got used to it. The first month, six weeks, it felt a little bit intrusive but you start to build a relationship. There were not that many people there filming, there was maybe on a busy day, four or five - a couple of cameraman and a producer. You started to build a relationship with them and they started to understand the bits they could get access to, and some they couldn’t. Occasionally you’d walk into a room and not realise there was a little camera in the corner with a red dot on until someone taps you on the arm and points. It was always sold to us that it didn’t stitch anyone up or anything like that and I think Netflix went into it thinking it could be a really good story of getting promoted back to the Premier League. But it was probably an even better story for them that we got relegated - the interest was probably heightened.”