Jack Ross keen to strike early in January transfer window with Sunderland closing in on deal

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Jack Ross is hopeful of striking early in the January window and bolstering his promotion-chasing Sunderland squad - with defensive reinforcements key.

Ross has revealed the club have been working on a deal, with the Scot hopeful of it being agreed early in the window.

Adding cover at full-back has been a priority, with additional strength at centre-back also on the club’s radar.

When asked if targets had been identified ahead of January, Ross said: “I would hope that we might have one in early part of January.

“There is one we have been working on, I am hoping we can get in.

“If it does go through then I would imagine it would be at the beginning of the month. Beyond that, it will be maybe dependant on squad wise, injury wise, etc.

Sunderland manager Jack Ross.

Sunderland manager Jack Ross.

“There is one which is a priority for us, hopefully we can get in right at the beginning of the month.”

Sunderland will look to add in one or two key areas but there is not expected to be a large amount of business done next month.

Ross is also weighing up giving some of the club’s promising younger players more game time with decisions to be made on the players out on loan too.

“I have always had areas that I want to strengthen, the defensive area has been one that I have been consistent with, plans have been in place for quite a while,” added Ross.

“There are a couple of other things that I have been thinking about. Loan players like Elliot [Embleton] and others, what we do with him in the future.

“Younger ones, how we promote and use the younger players more, I need to think about that too, things I need to consider.

“There is the potential to strengthen from outside, I also have that decision to make about whether to use more of the younger ones and push them, some will be up to dealing with it. “We have seven games in 21 days, we are going to be stretched,” added Ross ahead of today’s game against Bradford City at the Stadium of Light.

Meanwhile, Jack Ross remains hopeful both Josh Maja and Lynden Gooch will sign new deals with the club - and hopes for clarity soon.

Gooch is also out of contract next summer but has spoken positively about a new deal being close to being agreed and Ross is hopeful both Gooch and Maja will soon sign new contracts.

Ross added: “I’m hoping that will be the case for Lynden, with Josh I am still hopeful it will be a positive outcome.

“Because of how Stewart [Donald] is I think there will be some sort of finality on both situations fairly soon, he would like everything clear one way or another and I have no issue with that, it helps the model of the club too.”

Ross said there hadn’t been a deadline set by Donald but stressed it is preferable for clarity soon.

He added: “He is keen, I am as well and I have said this before so there is a consistency, we would like to know where we were at.

“It would help us plan ahead for this month and the summer as well.”