Jack Baldwin on being dropped, bouncing back and why this was such a key win for Sunderland
Jack Baldwin admits he had no issue with the decision to take him out of the Sunderland squad.
Baldwin had a spell on the sidelines after an indifferent run of form culminated in him giving a penalty away in the 2-2 draw with Accrington Stanley.
But a concussion toTom Flanagan opened the door for Baldwin, and he has looked much more like his usual self in his last two appearances. Manager Jack Ross was particularly pleased with the 25-year-old’s contribution against Barnsley and Baldwin says it was good management to give him a breather.
“When the manager explained he was taking me out I was more than happy [with his explanation],” he said.
“Looking back at the couple of games before that break I probably wasn’t at my best, so it was good management from the manager.
“I accepted that, kept my head down in training, kept doing the right things and keeping myself well.
“I just had to make sure I was ready when called upon.
“In tough conditions I thought I did well.”
Sunderland had to battle back from conceding an early goal against Walsall, Will Grigg’s winner putting their automatic promotion fate back in their own hands.
The Black Cats now have a fortnight break before the Checkatrade Trophy final, with Baldwin admitting it would have ‘felt like a month’ had they slipped up on Saturday.
“It would have felt like a month had we not won,” he said.
“It was important for us.
“Not having a league game for a couple of weeks it was important that we put three points on the board, just to keep ourselves in a good position.
“Conditions were difficult, it wasn’t the prettiest of games but the main thing was we came away with three points.
We know we’ll have a few games in hand and if we win them we’ll be in a good position and be right at it.
“We’ll take a break from the league now, enjoy the next week and then straight back to work,” he added.
“Whatever happens at Wembley, it’ll have to be forgotten about pretty sharpish because the league is the massive thing for us this season.
“It is tight at the top. We have to focus on ourselves. All we can do is win our games to stay in a good position. I think there are nine league games left and that’s a lot of points for the three teams going for the two places, it will be a good run-in. I am looking forward to it.”