Jack Ross sets challenge for Sunderland midfielder after stop-start season so far

Jack Ross has urged Dylan McGeouch to show off his full range of attacking qualities in the coming weeks.

Friday, 14th December 2018, 11:29 am
Updated Friday, 14th December 2018, 11:33 am
Dylan McGeouch has made 18 appearances in all competitions for Sunderland this season

The former Celtic and Hibernian midfielder has suffered some injury setbacks this season but was able to start Sunderland's last two cup fixtures.

Against Walsall, McGeouch was tidy in possession and as he has done all season, provided an effective screen in front of the back four.

But with Ross searching for greater urgency and intensity from his side, the 25-year-old was replaced by Lee Cattermole.

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"Fitness wise, it's obviously good to have him back," Ross said.

"He's had a little bit of a stop-start season, to a degree.

"We spoke a little bit about Reece [James] still having a bit more to give, I think Dylan would fall into that category.

"I know him really because of how often I watched him in Scotland and we're still trying to encourage him to affect the game more going forward because he has the ability to do so.

"It's just about the encouragement to get him to play forward as much as he can," he added.

"I can't criticise him because when he's been asked to do a job in games he's done fine. It's just encouraging him to believe that he can he show his qualities every single game."

McGeouch's stellar pre-season performances caught the eye and it has been a case of steady if not spectacular in the league campaign so far.

Still, the midfielder offers a very different option in midfield and his best run of fixtures came as the Black Cats launched an impressive winning run.

He will have a big part to play and Ross says he will keep working with a player in whose ability he has a massive amount of faith.

"There's going to be horses for courses this season as well," he said.

"But particularly at home where we always need to be on the front foot, there is going to be that onus on us to do that and Saturday will be a game like that.

"I keep referring to the unseen work, there's work we do with players every day to encourage them to do, either the things that they're doing well more, or things that they can improve on.

"That's consistent whether we win or we lose.

"It's how my staff and I see our jobs, to continue to make players better, regardless of what they've done or where they're at.

"Dylan falls into that category as well."