Jack Ross on Bryan Oviedo's new role and why he'll keep tinkering with Sunderland team

Jack Ross expects Bryan Oviedo to feature as a winger again after a successful experiment against Walsall.

Tuesday, 27th November 2018, 12:28 am
Updated Tuesday, 27th November 2018, 12:35 am
Bryan Oviedo was given a more advanced role against Walsall

Ross played Oviedo in a higher position as he looked to rediscover Sunderland's attacking threat.

The Costa Rican had been thrown on from the bench the previous week in the hunt for a winner against Wycombe Wanderers.

Ross has watched videos of the 28-year-old in that position earlier in his career and is convinced that it can help accentuate his attacking quality.

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Sunderland lined up in a 4-4-2 system, albeit one that quickly had to be reshuffled when Max Power was sent off 23 minutes in.

Ross is regularly changing his system this season and admits that is a result of the specific challenges he is finding in League One.

"On the back of Wycombe, I took a bit of time to think," Ross said.

"How we play, what we do, how other teams set up.

"I think we're good at what we do at times, but at times, so Gareth [Ainsworth] was at our game against Port Vale, we play in a certain matter so then they look to negate it.

"We're flexible anyway but we need to make sure we have options, whether it's how we start the game or how we change things during the game.

"I watched quite a lot of stuff with Lynden and Bryan, particularly when he first came to England with Everton.

"We had some conversations and did some work in training on Thursday," he added.

"I had that filmed because I wanted to see how it looked and I was comfortable with it, I didn't think it was a gamble.

"I knew they could play there, it was just whether it came together, and it did.

"In terms of it being horses for courses, I think this league is like that. The opposition are so difficult to predict at times.

"It's quite challenging actually. Walsall was good because the team was the same as the week before, it comes through and you think 'OK, I know what they're doing.'

"That doesn't happen very often."

Oviedo's long-term future at Sunderland is unclear and in the short-term, he has to compete against the excellent Reece James and the returning Denver Hume.

Ross is not ruling out a return to the back four but does expect to field him in advanced areas more regularly.

"I still see him as competing for that left-back position," he said.

"But I think that rather than seeing him then as not an option for you at any point because he's a left-back, I wanted to come away from that.

"It's not making him into something he's not because as I mentioned, he did it a lot for Everton.

"What he gives going forward from full-back has arguably been his strength as well.

"I'm sure he will play him higher up again, he's undoubtedly got the capabilities to do it."

With Chris Maguire fit to start against Barnsley, Ross may well revert to his more standard system and formula, despite being impressed by the performance of his side in those early stages at Walsall.

"We looked bang at it, the balance of the team was good, the understanding of what we wanted them to do was good," he said.

"We made a lot of forward runs and that had been one of my main criticisms after the Wycombe game.

"We looked well balanced and had that quality in the final third.

"Saturday, though, the park was fairly narrow at Walsall and so that suited us playing that way as well.

"You always try and bare in mind the dimensions of where you're playing, because our Stadium is one of the biggest.

"I was happy in that opening period."