Jack Ross on Bryan Oviedo's Sunderland future and the challenge for Jimmy Dunne

Jack Ross says he has had no indication that Bryan Oviedo will leave the club this month.

Friday, 18th January 2019, 9:49 am
Updated Friday, 18th January 2019, 10:35 am
Bryan Oviedo is struggling to push himself into the starting XI

However, the Sunderland boss is well aware that the 28-year-old's situation could lead to an exit if a suitable offer came in.

Oviedo's status as a former Premier League player means he is one of the highest-paid players in the current squad.

Yet Oviedo has not been a regular this season, with both Denver Hume and Reece James impressing when they have had opportunities.

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Hume is nearing a return from injury while James has been a consistent performer.

"From a managerial point of view, I'm not actively encouraging him out of the door because he has made a contribution this season," he said.

"The dynamics are probably more for the people above me in terms of how it affects the running of the club.

"But to my knowledge there has been no approach or communication from anyone about Bryan so, as things stand, I just assume he is going to be part of my squad between now and the end of the season - although that can change over the next 13-14 days."

Should Oviedo stay then there is an argument that the Costa Rica international could be best served playing higher up the pitch.

While he has not been a regular this season, his delivery in the final third has helped produce some vital goals.

Ross himself has played him in advanced positions on occasions this season.

He admits he could do it again in future.

"Possibly," he said.

"He has quality, it's just assessing how to get the best from him and how that impacts us defensively as well.

"It's something we would take into account."

Another option is to play Oviedo as a wing-back.

The arrival of Jimmy Dunne means Ross has the option of playing three centre-backs again.

Dunne is likely in the short-term to push Tom Flanagan and Jack Baldwin for one of the two spots at the heart of defence.

Ross is confident he will make a contribution at some stage but is under no pressure from Burnley to pick the loanee.

"Jimmy was brought in because he'll strengthen us, and he'll justify that.

"However he was brought in to a team that was still doing reasonably well, so he has to fight his way into the team and then fight to stay there.

"I'm viewing him as a normal signing in that sense, I absolutely believe he'll play games between now and the end of the season.

"It's when that opportunity opens up.

"That could be through a change of system, an injury, illness, these things are difficult to predict.

"I've been pleased with how he has integrated into the squad so far."