Jack Ross hails penalty hero and Sunderland’s character after another set piece goal

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Jack Ross says the form of Jon McLaughlin has been a ‘real bonus’ for Sunderland this season.

McLaughlin made his second penalty save of the season as the Black Cats held on for three vital points at Valley Parade.

After a string of vital saves in recent weeks, McLaughlin will now join the Scotland squad for the upcoming fixtures against Israel and Portugal.

“He’s been very, very good this season,” Ross said,

“Goalkeeper was a priority for me when I came to the club and he was a priority as an individual. He was somebody I was really keen to bring to the club and I fought hard to make sure we brought him.

“He’s justified that. He’s at a a stage of his career and his life that it’s not fazing him playing for a club of this size and his performance levels have been consistently very good.

“It’s been highlighted recently by two penalty saves but overall his calmness, his steadiness and his consistency have been a real bonus for us. It was an important position for us to get right.”

Ross admitted to ‘frustrations’ as the Black Cats conceded another set piece goal against Bradford but was keen to highlight the character of his side as they quickly went back ahead in the game.

“It happens in games.

It’s difficult for me because the frustration is that we’re not keeping clean sheets but on the flip side of it we score goals and our character to bounce back after conceding has been great as well, so you walk that line as a manager between accentuating the positives and improving upon the things you can do better,” he said.

“We do that on a daily basis but I think the positives outweigh that and there are more positives than negatives at the moment, it’s just rectifying them.

“That [Baldwin’s goal] is testament to how the boys have been with me from day one,” he added.

“We’ve flown through 12 games very quickly and you forget we had to show incredible character in the Charlton goal to respond to a poor start to the game and scored in injury-time.

“That’s continued throughout the season and it’s been different players showing it as well. It’s testament to the squad and the unity we’ve shown in a short period of time will stand us in good stead.

“As against Peterborough, I thought there were periods when we were really good in possession and that’s never going to be in doubt, the quality of them, but the group is getting better at dealing with some of the more difficult sides of being in this league.”