Jack Ross hailed Sunderland’s 3-0 win at Accrington as one of the best this season as the lads bounced back from the EFL Cup final loss to Portsmouth in sensational fashion. Ross had this to say after the match: “There has been loads of good wins along the way, but this is a pleasing win for the players. I said how sore they were after Sunday. They put a huge amount in, and it hurts when you lose in that environment so to refocus, I was delighted for them. The satisfaction from the win is up there with any this season in terms of what the players have had to deal with and how they responded as a whole group. The pitch wasn’t easy to play on, there were loads of different aspects of the game which were pleasing. It was a lot to do with the conditions, we knew we would have to play forward quicker and we did it well. You need the players within the system, a lot if made of systems but a lot of it is down to how players play within it. Those players played well, it was terrific for me because there was a number of those players that had been frustrated at a lack of game time, I have always commented saying they kept themselves right in training and bounce games and that showed tonight. It was really pleasing for me as a manager.”
With the win, Sunderland moved up to third in the table and only three points behind Barnsley with a game in hand, Ross added: “We are in the position where we are having to play catch-up, it is not ideal but there is a belief in the squad. I said that all along and post-match Sunday that I sensed there was a great determination to take full advantage of the league games that lie ahead. We have eight more ahead and need to reproduce that performance, work rate and energy and we will need the squad, there is a quick turnaround. Like everything I want them to enjoy the feeling and we are back in Thursday to prepare for Rochdale on Saturday.”
Aiden McGeady was forced off at half time in the 3-0 win against Accrington Stanley and Jack Ross is hoping he’ll be fit for the away fixture on Saturday against Rochdale. Ross said: “Aiden’s season just gets better and better. He is in a really good place at the moment and I think everybody can see that. He just picked up a knock in the first half which is why I took him off at half-time, and we are obviously hoping it is nothing too serious and he will be OK for Saturday because he has been so important for us. It was a knock to his foot/ankle area from the tackle on him fairly early on in the corner. It wasn’t a case of taking him off because we were 2-0 up, he wouldn’t have been able to continue anyway. It’s not ultra-serious but he was struggling with his mobility towards the end of the half and we’ll see how he is in the morning. He’s been carrying a few knocks recently, to be honest, and it is to his credit that he keeps dragging himself through them.”
Ross made several to the team with Lee Cattermole was dropped out of the match day squad, Ross explained: “There were five changes but three of those were forced on us - George, Lee, and Reece weren’t available for various reasons. The other two, Lewis and Grant, did well on Sunday but Grant has played an awful lot of football since he came to the club while Lewis’ energy is effective for us coming off the bench as well. Lee has had an ongoing issue with his ankle, and it has flared up again, but in fairness I would have taken him out tonight in any case just because of the demands of the 120 minutes he put in on Sunday. We’ll just see how he is over the next couple of games. Reece has a groin problem and he is another one we are just assessing at the moment. He won’t be available on Saturday. Sometimes it’s not clear exactly what the problem is so it is best we get to the bottom of it and try to find what it is, then we can work out whether it is something we can manage until the end of the season or not.