Jack Ross provides update on Josh Maja ankle injury ahead of Sunderland's trip to Doncaster
Josh Maja is expected to feature for Sunderland at Doncaster Rovers tomorrow - despite a niggling ankle injury continuing to trouble him.
The 19-year-old has netted nine times for the Black Cats this season in what has been an impressive breakthrough in Jack Ross' new-look side.
And his form is made even more impressive when you consider that an ankle injury has caused Maja some pain in recent weeks.
Ross reiterated that Sunderland have a duty of care to the teenager, and he sat out of training today as a precaution, but believes that the injury will not force Maja to miss the trip to Doncaster.
Speaking ahead of the trip to the Keepmoat Stadium, Ross said: "He's had an ongoing issue with his ankle. Nothing major, just something that's troubled him a little bit.
"He's had to play with that over the last two or three games.
"It's one of those where we have a duty of how we manage him over the season, because his target should be to play 35, 45 games in the league and cup.
"If he does that at 19 years-old that's great for him moving forward."
The striker was rested for the Checkatrade Trophy victory over Carlisle before the international break due to this injury, and was then uncharacteristically quiet during the 2-0 win at Shrewsbury Town.
Indeed, Ross withdrew Maja early in the second half at the New Meadow in a move which eventually paid dividends as his replacement, Lynden Gooch, laid on both Sunderland's goals.
And while acknowledging that his performance was not his best, the Sunderland boss believes that the display was merely an off-day and that the striker will continue to contribute as the season progresses.
"His performance on Saturday dipped below the levels he is showing," he admitted.
"He's going to get that, he's 19 years old and this is the first season he's played consistently week in, week out.
"He hasn't missed a league game since the start of the season and that, not just physically but mentally, is a challenge for a young player.
"It was just one of those days for him where he wasn't at his best, but the contribution he has made this season is great and he'll keep doing that."