Hard work on the training ground pays off for Sunderland defence - and coaching staff

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It was almost exactly two months to the day since the first - and last - but Sunderland’s second league clean sheet of the season was welcome reward for the hard work that goes on the training ground.

Jack Ross hasn’t been overly concerned about Sunderland’s lack of clean sheets given he wants his squad to play with a freedom going the other way.

Tom Flanagan scraps for the ball.

Tom Flanagan scraps for the ball.

Finding a balance has proved tricky but a resilient defensive showing at New Meadow saw Sunderland leave with three points.

It was another battle of wills but Sunderland came out on top thanks to a second half own goal from Omar Beckles and Luke O’Nien’s strike.

An important three points ahead of Tuesday night’s trip to Doncaster Rovers and Ross was delighted his defensive unit could finally celebrate another clean sheet following the shut-out against Scunthorpe United in mid-August.

First team coach John Potter and assistant boss James Fowler lead the defensive drills on the training ground and Ross was pleased to see their hard work pay off.

Ross said: “We do a lot of work defensively and John and James particularly with the defensive unit.

“We have been frustrated and they have. We haven’t been cut open this season, our general defending has been good.

“It was just we made individual mistakes and conceded poor goals at times but our general shape and play is good, it is just that last bit.

“I’m pleased the defensive unit have their reward in the shape of a clean sheet.”