Watch Sunderland's 2,000-strong away support celebrate at Gillingham as Jack Ross hails 'unbelievable' fans
Jack Ross is enjoying Sunderland's 'exciting and enjoyable' start to the season - and has hailed the ' unbelievable commitment' of the supporters.
The attendance at the Priestfield Stadium for the 4-1 win over Gillingham was 8,438, with an impressive 2,087 in the away end roaring on their team throughout having made the 600-mile round-trip in midweek.
Sunderland fell behind to a Tom Eaves header after just three minutes - in front of the away support - but the Black Cats hit back immediately through Chris Maguire.
George Honeyman, Max Power and Josh Maja added to Sunderland's tally as they remained unbeaten in League One ahead of Saturday's trip to face AFC Wimbledon.
The squad is staying down south between the two fixtures, with Sunderland set to be backed by another sold-out away following at the weekend.
On the fans, Ross said: "You want to be grateful without sounding patronising, but there is a genuine appreciation for it because it is an unbelievable commitment - there are very few clubs who could bring that number of fans that distance for an evening kick-off.
"The great thing for me as a manager and for the players is that they were able to give them a reward, because there is no greater feeling than winning.
"Those 2,000-plus will go home on that long journey happy and delighted.
"It’s exciting and it’s enjoyable, and long may it continue."
Ross was pleased with his side's instant response after falling behind so early against Gillingham, who refused to give up and pushed Sunderland all the way despite trailing 3-1 after just 20 minutes.
"They’ve started the season well and they’re a good side," said Ross.
"I knew they would ask a lot of questions of us defensively, they play the ball forward quickly and they get really good support in those areas.
"We had to deal with a lot and we rode our luck at times as well, but that is going to happen.
"Away from home, teams are going to view it as an opportunity to take a scalp but that goes with the territory of us being in this league.
"It’s not so much the scoreline, as proving that we are able to deal with the questions that were asked of us.
“There will be times when it won’t go well, because we are expansive and we do commit men forward.
"That can mean you turn over possession, and there have been times, even in the home games, where we’ve done that.
“But the flip side of it is that you create opportunities and look a threat all the time going the other way.
"That’s why I can see a lot of games being like that this season. The way in which we play lends itself to that, along with the intensity of nights like Wednesday night.”