Why signing a '˜poacher' is key for Sunderland as Jack Ross gives full January update

Jack Ross admits adding a '˜poacher' to his squad could make all the difference this season.

Friday, 18th January 2019, 8:00 am

Ross has made signing a striker his key January priority, with the Black Cats keen to try and sign Wigan Athletic’s Will Grigg.

While Sunderland remain well-placed in the promotion race, their scoring form has dropped off a little in recent weeks.

They have not scored twice in their last six league games.

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Ross feels focusing on that statistic is harsh but admits he is keen to see his side be more clinical in games.

“It’s an interesting anomaly,” he said.

“To be the only English side to score in every legaue game is remarkable.

“Yet all of a sudden we’ve found ourselves criticised for not scoring enough.

“Part of that goes with the territory of managing this club, and then there’s part of it which is fair.

“We could have turned some of these draws into wins.

“We’re still one of the highest scorers in the league so it’s not a huge issue, but we do need to more clinical and make more of the spells in the game when we are on top.

“We do need to score more consistently,” he added.

“Hence why I’ve identified bringing in and out-and-out striker.

“Even through the season so far, our scoring record has been remarkable because we’ve not had those out-and-out strikers really.

“If you look at the likes of Aiden, Lynden, Chris, their contributions, there will be spikes and dips.

“During those dips you really need poachers, for want of a better word.

“If you look at recent games we’ve had enough opportunities to kill games off.

“For me, it’s such an important area for us to get right.

“I’ve been working with the group now since June,” he added.

“So I think it would be foolish for us to turn around and say we’re going to be horrible, compact, grind out 1-0 wins.

“It’s not how we’ve coached them, not how we’ve worked in terms of patterns of play.

“What we’ve got now I still think will keep us up and around there, but there’s a risk element to that as well.

“It [striker signing] could make a big difference.”

The Black Cats admits he may also be tempted to strengthen other areas of the squad before the end of the month, should the opportunity arrive.

“The striker is the priority for us.

“There are maybe one or two areas this week where if the opportunity comes up we will give ourselves more depth, but that’s the absolute priority for us.

“We need another option.”

Ross also said that the club have had no bids for any of their senior players.

“We’ve had nothing.

“No notes of interest, no approaches, nothing.

“That makes it easier for me and you hope that stays the case.

“The hardest thing for a manager is losing something important late, but as it stands, nothing in terms of going out.”