Jack Ross on tackling one of Sunderland's biggest frustrations this season

Charlie Wyke scores a rare set piece goal
Charlie Wyke scores a rare set piece goal
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Jack Ross admits that Sunderland's set pieces have to improve in the second half of the season.

The Black Cats have struggled in both boxes throughout the campaign, conceding some crucial goals and struggling to register many of their own.

That is in part an obvious consequence of a squad that is lacking height, but Ross also believes the service has not been good enough.

The Black Cats scored twice from corners against Newcastle United U21s last week, something which Ross hopes will spark an upturn in fortunes.

"It's been frustrating for John [Potter] and James [Fowler] in particular, they do a lot of work on it," Ross said.

"Like with anything, if you don't get the rewards for the work you can question what you're doing.

"One of the factors is that we have a lot less height than other teams in the league.

"However our consistency of delivery hasn't always been good enough. It has fluctuated. We've got a lot of technically good players in the squad, it's just getting them to deliver on the money time after time.

"You see the difference in the Checkatrade game.

"In the first half, the delivery was indifferent.

"In the second half all of a sudden it goes up in quality, we scored twice and had another couple of opportunities as well.

"We want that to continue because it is undoubtedly something we don't do enough.

"I can't see us being as team that ever scores a barrel-load but it would be nice to chip in with some from those types of areas."

The return of Charlie Wyke from injury, as well as the arrival of Jimmy Dunne on loan from Burnley, should boost Sunderland's presence.

After some frustrating results on home turf, Ross is fully aware that picking up more goals from dead-ball situations could make a real difference.

Particularly for a side that invariably comes up against teams happy to defend deep and in large numbers.

"When you're dominating territoriality, chances are you'll pick up corners and free kicks in the final third," he said.

"The Newcastle game was an example of that.

"Even though in the first half we weren't great, the game was mostly played in their final third of the pitch.

"So it was a good one to highlight how it important it can be for us."