Jack Ross defends Watford loanee and backs him to have successful season after criticism of Sunderland showing

Jack Ross says Jerome Sinclair can bounce back from his FA Cup woes and make a big impression for Sunderland this season.

Friday, 14th December 2018, 8:00 am

The Watford loanee struggled in the 1-0 defeat to Walsall and there were some ironic cheers when he was replaced by Josh Maja in the second half.

It has been a mixed campaign for Sinclair so far, who has often impressed with his work rate but has struggled for regular goals.

The 22-year-old has played his part in some key wins and Ross was keen to stress that ahead of the visit of Bristol Rovers this weekend.

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“It happens,” Ross said.

“It’s easy to say that but it does, people have off nights.

“I have them, players have them.

“It’s part of the unpredictability of football and why we go and watch it. Players are human beings as well.

“The one thing about Jerome is I don’t think anyone can question his attitude.

“It wasn’t just him, there were others who it just didn’t quite happen for.

“Again, there’s a lot of unseen work goes on in football and part of that is looking after players through more difficult times. It’s dead easy to speak to them and pat them on the back when they’e doing well, the bit that you can’t forget is helping them through a performance that is tougher for them to deal with.”

Ross picked out the 1-0 win over Doncaster Rovers in October as an example of his importance to the squad.

“He’s helped us win matches,” Ross said.

“He’s been selfless and his work-rate is never in question.

“Doncaster for me, the type of game it was and what we needed from a player in that area, he allowed the others to play behind him that night.

“That’s a good example of it.

“The challenge is getting that consistency and that’s because he’s not played that many games and he’s also, if you look back at his career, he’s not played a huge amount as an out and out striker.

“He’s helped us win games and I’ve no doubt he’ll continue to do that this season.

This is by far the busiest season of Sinclair’s career so far, and Ross says that he will have to be resilient to deal with the scruinty that comes alongside that.

“As a person, he’s very polite and courteous,” Ross said.

“He’s immersed himself in it and I’ve never had any concerns.

“Like any young player, or any player, that will sting.

“It’s human nature.

“If you already have the resilience to just shrug it off, great. If you haven’t, you’ve got to build it. I don’t want to sound cold-hearted but in this profession, you’ve got to have it.

“Any criticism bothers people, it’s how you deal with it.

“If he needs help to deal with it, we’ll give him it. Any player goes through these moments.

“I think he had 12 senior appearances before he came here.

“What he’s got under his belt here far exceeds what he’s managed previously.

“People might find that surprising given his age but it maybe just highlights what can happen at the bigger clubs.

“It’s not an excuse becasue he’s treated as a first team player, but it’s obviously very different.”