Jack Ross on his first Sunderland signing as brief cameo shows a player finding his feet

BCFC 1-2 SAFC EFL League 1 06-10-2018. Picture by FRANK REID
BCFC 1-2 SAFC EFL League 1 06-10-2018. Picture by FRANK REID
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Jack Ross has praised Alim Ozturk for showing he can contribute to Sunderland’s season.

Ozturk was a late substitute as the Black Cats battled through Max Power’s red card to seal three valuable points against Bradford City.

It was the second time Ozturk has come from the bench to help his team defend against direct opposition, the centre-back also performing diligently at AFC Wimbledon.

It has not been an easy start for Sunderland’s first summer signing, who has fallen down the pecking order, but Ross has hailed his character in coping with the setbacks.

“I had a conversation with him after the Bradford game, to say how pleased I was that he had made a contribution,” Ross said.

“I spoke to him at the end of last week, I know Alim from having worked with him before and his temperament is good. He’s a good character, he’s got no issues. Obviously he wants to play but he knows he has to be patient and take his opportunities when they come up.

“Those were his words to me and it’s pleasing to see that mentality taking hold in the squad. But it’s nice for him to contribute. It’s OK me giving him praise but it’s good for him to contribute on the pitch. “He’ll have come away on Saturday knowing that he was part of it, knowing that’d done his part in dealing with the balls into the box.”

Ross added that left-back Reece James was the perfect example to any fringe player looking to transform their fortunes.

“Reece is the best example of it, where’d found himself a few weeks ago because of Bryan’s form and Denver’s emergence,” he said.

“He had hadn’t done an awful lot wrong but these guys were ahead of him all of a sudden. But he knew the chance could come and his performance at Bradford was reflective of that, he played like he knew he had to take his chance.

“His performance was good considering he’s still playing catch-up a little bit, and I think he’s one who will get better. That’s pleasing for him.”