Jack Ross reveals how he'll break it to those Sunderland players not involved in Wembley final
One of the hardest tasks facing Jack Ross this weekend will be breaking the news to those not selected in the matchday squad that they won’t be involved at Wembley.
But the Scot has moved to stress to his players that the remaining nine League One fixtures are every bit as important as the club battles for automatic promotion back to the Championship - and everyone will have a part to play.
Sunderland face Portsmouth at Wembley 2.30pm Sunday but there will be little time to celebrate if they do win, with the Black Cats travelling to Accrington Stanley on Wednesday.
That is the first of eight league fixtures in a very busy April, with Sunderland currently fourth and five points adrift of second place Barnsley.
So, how will Ross approach telling those players they’re not involved on Sunday?
Ross said: “One of the things we spoke about this week was that this game is no more or less important than the other nine we have between now and the end of the season.
“That is not downplaying the significance of the cup final, it is more highlighting the significance of the league games remaining.
“They are all of huge importance to us. I get why people’s perception would be if you’re not involved on Sunday as opposed to not being involved at Accrington on Wednesday but we have to make sure we have a mentality where players don’t view them any differently.
“The players are good that way. I understand naturally everyone wants to be involved in it. They all want to be involved in every game. Come Wednesday, it will be the same.”
Lynden Gooch, meanwhile, is dreaming of being involved and scoring a cup final goal.
Gooch said: “You don’t want to get too carried away because you need to stay focused but of course, I’ve thought about walking out at Wembley and scoring a goal in a cup final - that would just be a dream come true! “I went to the 2014 cup final with my dad and it was an amazing day when Fabio Borini scored. I had my scarf on and everything, it was a class day and something I will never forget.”