Jack Ross hails goal hero Lee Cattermole and hopes him and Bryan Oviedo stay at Sunderland
Lee Cattermole has been making headlines all summer but they have usually been about his Sunderland future.
This time he was the unlikely scorer of a brace as Sunderland came from a goal down to beat AFC Wimbledon 2-1 and climb to second in League One.
His winner was a superb volley.
Ross joked afterwards he'd have had a big call to make had Sunderland been awarded a late penalty!
It was Cattermole's first ever brace and with it goals number eight and nine of his league career. Cattermole now has 11 career goals in total.
It was just reward for an excellent overall display, Cattermole one of the few to have performed in the first half, with some important clearances.
Ross said: "I thought he was one of the few in the first half who stood up to it because I said at half-time I thought we got outfought and outworked a little bit.
"I don't mean that in a condescending way against Wimbledon because they played well too.
"If you don't have that application at any level of football it's difficult to get a platform.
"I think Lee was one of the few who looked at it. In the first half and even in the dressing room at half-time I could tell where he was at.
“I thought the system change to get Dylan [McGeouch] on the park also brought more out of him. I think he's in a good place at the moment.
“He was telling me he’s got seven goals in his career, in the hundreds of games he’s played, and certainly never a brace.
"I did pose the question of what he would have done if we’d got a last-minute penalty! I’ve spoken often enough about him, and I’m delighted that he’s enjoying his football.
"It’s a special day for him, doing that and getting the reception that he got. They were two very different goals – the second one is a fantastic finish.
"I’m pleased for him individually."
Sunderland fans had their hearts in their mouths in the immediate aftermath of Cattermole's 66th minute equaliser, the midfielder prodding home at the back post.
Referee John Busby was called over by his assistant for a lengthy discussion, it wasn't clear whether it was for a possible offside but after a tense period, the goal stood.
Ross added: “I wasn’t aware of anything at first, but when you see the referee go over you think it’s more than likely that the goal is going to be disallowed.
"My players couldn’t see what was wrong with it. You need those elements of fortune to go your way, and I was pleased it was given."
Cattermole is one of the highest earners and Sunderland would have to consider any offers that came in for his services before the end of the month.
But for now he remains a key part of Ross' plans, Ross stating as things stand he expects him and Bryan Oviedo to stay.
On the pair, Ross said: "There has been nothing on the horizon for either of them, which has been beneficial to me.
"It was only going to be beneficial if they approached things in the manner that they have done. I have said often enough they have done that on the training pitch.
"Bryan travelled, it was a big decision not to start him. For him to come on and show the attitude and quality he did is testament to where he is at mentally.
"Things can change quickly but I see them as part of my group moving forward and hopefully that will be the case."