'That's controversial!': Sunderland fans react as Jack Ross makes surprising selection at Portsmouth

Jack Ross has handed Duncan Watmore a first league start in 13 months as Sunderland prepare to face Portsmouth. - with Josh Maja dropped.

Saturday, 22nd December 2018, 13:09 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th January 2019, 15:53 pm

Watmore's inclusion is one of three changes made by the Scot as the Black Cats prepare for their toughest test of the season so far.

The attacker - who stepped up his injury recovery last weekend - is joined by Reece James and Luke O'Nien in the starting line-up.

Jack Ross has named his Sunderland side to face Portsmouth

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Adam Matthews, Bryan Oviedo and Josh Maja drop out the side in a decision which has split supporters.

Here's how Sunderland fans reacted on social media:

@Andrewsafcbrown tweeted: "controversial!"

@Chubfubbler added: "Starting a game of this importance without a proper centre forward is a bit of a gamble for me."

@Leech27tom said: "Trust jack ross. Good players to bring in to either change the game or kill the game."

@JoeSmithies commented: "Our defence gives me shivers"

@newby08 asked: "Does this mean maja is off in jan?"

@andrewjamescain92 posted: "Seems to me if he’s going in for quick paced squad then to introduce king maguire and magic maja to finish the job"

@connorap1 said: "Verrrry underwhelmed at this team to play top of the league, no Maja is a huge decision. Wait and see what happens but don’t feel so good about it now..."

@peterjames73 commented; "Definitely take a point looking at the team. O’Nien done well defensively at RB against Walsall but wasn’t a threat going forward. Flanagan will be a huge miss. Maja on the bench is a strange choice. Three points would be huge though ..."

And here's the full team news from Fratton Park ahead of the top of the table clash:

Sunderland XI: McLaughlin, Baldwin, Loovens, James, O'Nien, Power, Cattermole, Honeyman, Gooch, McGeady, Watmore

Sunderland subs: Ruiter, Oviedo, Ozturk, Maguire, McGeouch, Maja, Sinclair

Portsmouth XI: MacGillivray, N Thompson, Whatmough, Clarke, Brown, Naylor, B Thompson, Lowe, Evans, Curtis, Hawkins

Portsmouth subs: Bass, Walkes, Burgess, Close, Green, Wheeler, Pitman