Jack Ross has this message to Sunderland squad ahead of Shrewsbury Town Stadium of Light clash
Sunderland are unbeaten on home soil in League One and Jack Ross is determined the Black Cats maintain the momentum when Shrewsbury Town visit.
A League One record crowd of 46,039 watched the 1-0 Boxing Day win over Bradford City.
The attendance for tomorrow’s game is likely to be far less but the Black Cats have still been averaging above 30,000 this season and Ross is grateful for the ongoing support as the club looks to win promotion back to the Championship at the first attempt.
Visitors Shrewsbury were beaten 2-1 away at Accrington Stanley on Boxing Day to leave them 18th, seven points clear of the bottom four.
Ross is conscious of teams raising their game when they head to the Stadium of Light but is confident his side can extend their unbeaten run on home soil.
Sunderland have been beaten at home by Sheffield Wednesday in the Carabao Cup and Walsall in the FA Cup but are yet to taste defeat in League One at the Stadium of Light.
Ross said: “I’ve mentioned about the different challenges we face and you can see how each team comes here and responds to the surroundings and atmosphere.
“In essence at times, it is a free hit for some of them as there is no expectation upon them, that is something we have had to face this season.
“We have had to deal with that and we are getting better at it.
“We have a good home record in the league and that is something we want to continue on Saturday.
“It was huge to send the fans home happy [on Boxing Day].
“I was aware and kept fully up to date in terms of the numbers, I understood the responsibility on us to produce a positive result.
“We had to make sure we didn’t fall flat in front of a big crowd and we did that, the performance was good for the most part.”
Asked whether he’ll be keeping a close eye on Saturday’s attendance, Ross added: “It will be interesting to see but I would never expect people just to turn up as I understand the financial commitment involved in it, the whole club helped some with the Gift of Football tickets and I’m sure there will be some who made the commitment to come that can’t make it every single week.
“I was grateful for their support, if we can get some of them back on Saturday because they enjoyed Boxing Day then brilliant.”
The festive schedule is a busy one for Sunderland, the players were back training at the Academy of Light on Thursday and again today ahead of the visit of Shrewsbury.
Ross said: “It is a busy period but the players are used to it.
“They will look after themselves physically and it is about making sure those that aren’t playing that much keep their fitness levels topped up.
“We have needed the group over the last couple of games and we will need the group Saturday and when we go to Blackpool on New Year too.”