Jack Ross reveals how Sunderland can become 'real force' under him at Stadium of Light
Sunderland's dire form at the Stadium of Light in front of their long-suffering home support has been well documented.
But new manager Jack Ross is adamant Sunderland can become a “real force” under him on their own turf.
Sunderland won just three games at home last season, a campaign which ended with the side rock bottom of the Championship heading for League One.
Sunderland beat Fulham, Hull City and Wolves, in a dead-rubber end of season match, in 2017-18.
The win over Fulham ended a near year-long wait for a home win, Josh Maja’s goal ending a 364-day wait for a victory on Wearside.
With 13 home defeats to their name in 2017-18, Ross knows only know too well the importance of starting well and building on the growing feel-good factor under new owner Stewart Donald.
It is not a challenge he is unfamiliar with either, having turned round a similar poor home record at former club St Mirren.
When he arrived the Buddies had won just one of their opening 12 home games during the 2016-17 season.
Four wins and two draws from their final six home outings of the season saw them avoid the drop before Ross led the side to the Scottish Championship title the following season, with an impressive 14 home wins and just two defeats.
Ross build a reputation of building a vibrant, attacking side at St Mirren, encouraging his players to play without fear.
“Mistakes will happen – I’ll make them and the players will make them – but it’s about how you react to them and how you learn from them,” said Ross, who is expected on Wearside in the coming days once he returns from holiday.
“If we’re going to get over that element [of fear at home], and it was very similar when I took over at St Mirren because we had a horrendous home record, we can become a real force at the Stadium of Light.
“If we can get it right, what a powerful place it will be to play.”
Donald moved quickly to secure his first managerial appointment at Sunderland, Ross’ appointment confirmed less than five days after the takeover was ratified.
And the new man in the dugout is relishing the challenge of life on Wearside and leading the Black Cats back to the Championship.
Ross added: “I know it’s very easy for a manager to come in and make promises, as people have heard it all before particularly with the high turnover of managers there are these days.
“But I do genuinely encourage my players to play, and I think if you speak to anyone who has worked under me they will tell you there’s no fear about how they go about their business.”