Sunderland boss opens up on his total faith in Max Power and gives a passionate, emphatic character reference
Jack Ross has no intention of telling Max Power to change his game as the 25-year-old prepares to face Barnsley on Tuesday night.
The Black Cats were handed a major boost on Monday when an FA appeal panel ruled that his red card for serious foul play against Walsall was wrongly issued.
It was a significant reprieve for the midfielder, who had been facing the prospect of missing another five games, having already missed ten due to suspension this season.
Ross had no intention of defending Power from the red he picked up at Bradford but said it was important to consider the context when assessing his complex season so far.
Power had never been sent off in over 200 league games befoe moving to Wearside, a career that included two promotions from this division.
“I’ve said it before but I take them all in isolation,” Ross said.
“Bradford, I had absolutely no complaints and neither did he. That’s how we dealt it with it as a club.
“That was stupidity and there was no case for the defence.
“Oxford, he gave the referee a decision to make but it was a tackle that probably every midfielder makes in their careers.
“Walsall is completely different. I don’t think it is a red card, I think he actually pulls out of the challenge.
“So there’s misfortune involved in one and a half of them, if you like,” he added.
“The only way he can avoid Saturday’s is if he doesn’t go in for the challenge, and I know people have said that he should have done that.
“I get that, but it’s difficult to say that to a player, particularly in that area of the pitch.
“If you say that to a player, what impact does it have on the rest of their game?”
The normally measured Ross was scathing when discussing the decision post-match on Saturday, his fury undimmed by closer analysis of the decision.
The successful appeal was a vindication for his total support of a midfielder he is convinced will be a major success story at Sunderland.
On his return from his last suspenion, Power was handed the captain’s armband for the Checkatrade Trophy clash at Morecambe.
That was a show of faith in Power, and Ross was eager to underline just how highly he rates him, on and off the pitch.
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The Black Cats boss had bristled at suggestions his post-match comments had been sparked by a desire to protect a club asset.
“I felt for him not because I’m soft because he’s a brilliant character and professional,” Ross said.
“He works incredibly hard.
“He’s in at the Academy at 8 o’clock, doing extra work.
“He’s desperate to do well at this club.
“You could see in his reaction on Saturday, he was sick.
“He was quiet yesterday, he knew what he was facing.
“People are also quick to judge, that’s football and that’s what happens. People make up their minds about players for the wrong reasons at times, so I have to protect him but I hope realise that I’m not doing that for sake of it.
I do it because he’s justified.
“He’s such a good type,” Ross added.
“There’s not been one single bit of me, even for a second, that has ever thought he is a wrong’un in any way.
“It’s so important to make it clear, he’s not hot-headed.
“He’s a brilliant professional, he’s got a bit about him, he plays with aggression, of course he does, but you need to in that area of the pitch.
“For selfish reasons, yes I wanted the appeal to be successful so I could have him available but actually for him, I so wanted it to be oveturned.
“It would have been sore for him if it hadn’t and he’d have had to work really hard to come back.”
Power will join the club permanently on January 1st and has impressed in his appearances for the Black Cats so far.
His availability is a big boost for a Sunderland side preparing to face one of the strongest squads in League One.