Jack Ross discusses two key fixture decisions and why fans are key to his thinking

Jack Ross says he has a responsibility to Sunderland's away support after choosing not to reschedule the Checkatrade Trophy clash with Morecambe.

Thursday, 25th October 2018, 4:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th October 2018, 4:13 pm
Jack Ross salutes the Sunderland support earlier this season

TV bosses have given the Sunderland manager a headache by moving the FA Cup First Round clash with Port Vale to Sunday, November 11th.

The Black Cats are in action just two days later as they look to seal their progression in the Checkatrade Trophy.

Over 1,000 away supporters are set to make that journey and Ross is determined not to invonvenience them.

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He has also revealed his preference to avoid another international break days later, when Wycombe Wanderers are due to visit the Stadium of Light, is also part of his thinking.

"I'd just finished doing my planning for November when the news came through that the game will be moved for TV," Ross said.

"We had a good meeting about it this morning and we'll keep the Morecambe game on the Tuesday.

"We have a big game on the Saturday which we want to play if possible.

"It'll be more beneficial for the build-up to that game to play on the Tuesday, and in the Checkatrade game so far we have freshened the team.

"Also, for us as a club, we have to recognise that the support that's travelled to watch us way from this season has been unbelievable.

"I understand we've sold a fair number of tickets for Morecambe already, so we have that responsibility."

Ross admits he will be taking a risk should he decide not to postpone the Wycombe visit.

The Black Cats had a number of players selected for international duty last time around, including influential pair Jon McLaughlin and Tom Flanagan.

He could yet make a similar decision but says he is keen to avoid it.

"My preference is to play the Wycombe game," he said.

"If the call-ups all come round then we'll see how it affects us, where they are, when they're away. We may assess it differently then.

"The Blackpool game was the same, people said we might fall behind and we did.

Whatever you decide you leave yourself open to criticism but that happens every single week in my job anyway.

"It's more [preference to play] based on the complexity already of fitting the Blackpool game in. If we can progress in the Checkatrade and the FA Cup, it's only going to get harder for us."