Jack Ross gives his view on Sunderland's big international fixture dilemma

Jack Ross admits that he will think ‘long and hard’ about postponing future League One fixtures due to international call-ups.

Friday, 30th August 2019, 1:00 pm
Jack Ross admits he has a big decision to make over losing players to international postponements

Sunderland will not be in action next weekend, with Burton Albion initially due to travel to the Stadium of Light.

However, the Black Cats have postponed the game after Tom Flanagan, Conor McLaughlin and Jon McLaughlin were selected by their national sides.

Burton Albion have had two call-ups, with Liam Boyce selected for Northern Ireland and Everton loanee Nathan Broadhead linking up with the Wales U21 side.

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Both Flanagan and Conor McLaughlin have been out of the league side of late, but Ross says it was a ‘sensible decision’.

Nevertheless, he admits that he is keen to avoid a backlog of fixtures later in the season, as happened in the last campaign.

“It’s not ideal,” Ross admitted.

“I know people will point to the win over Burnley [to show they should play].

“We have to plan these things fairly well in advance, and when the information comes through, it’s three first team regulars, or certainly three players around the squad all the time.

“Then you can’t predict what will happen between now and then, you could get three injuries on Saturday, another three in training and then it wouldn’t look very sensible.

“What I would say is that it’s something we have to think long and hard about continuing to do over the course of the season.

“I think it was sensible [in this instance] with the players that we’re missing and we’ve obviously had a busy schedule, but we don’t want to fall behind in terms of fixtures.

“We don’t want to be playing catch up, we want to try and make sure that if we’re up there we’re setting the pace,” he added.

“It’s not an excuse for last season, but it is challenging when you’re continually trying to catch up on games.”

The next game that could potentially come under threat is the visit of Fleetwood Town on October 12th.

Decisions may also have to be made on the trip to Bristol Rovers on November 16th, as well as the trip to Southend United on March 28th.