Sunderland got back to winning ways in League One with a 1-0 win over AFC Wimbledon, Aiden McGeady the matchwinner for the Black Cats.
His stunning 67th minute strike ensured a 1-0 victory, bringing an end to three straight draws in League On
Jack Ross handed full debuts to Grant Leadbitter and Lewis Morgan, the latter a late call-up from the bench after Lynden Gooch withdrew prior to kick-off for 'family reasons'.
They both played a part as Sunderland overcame bottom-of-the-table Dons, who ensured the Black Cats had to fight hard for the three points.
Ross said: “I am delighted, we didn’t play brilliantly, it was a hard and tough game but we won it.
“Very much about that at this time in the season. The games we have to catch up on, there will be a lot of games like this over the next two or three months.
“Anytime you achieve success as a club, people will often forget about these games but there are usually loads in the season
“We scored a good goal and won the game.
“We are still in a position were if we win our games in hand we will be on the same points total.
“If you look at the points per game, it sounds simplistic, but I think we are second in the league and we need to be aware of that and remind ourselves of it as a whole club.
“Knowing that if we keep on track with that, we will be there or thereabouts.”
On the debutants - with Spurs loanee Kaz Sterling making his debut as a second half substitute - Ross added: "I was pleased in terms of their contribution.
“When you do business in the transfer window you would prefer to do it early and it gives you a longer period to bed everyone together.
“We have only had everyone together two to three days maximum due to the late addition.
“Grant did really well to get through the game, Lewis I thought actually got better as the game wore on, he has not played a lot this season as well.
“For Kaz, it is a real learning curve for him too, it is different to what he is used to.
“Everyone, including all the subs, made an impact in us winning the game.”
On Gooch's late withdrawal from the starting XI, Ross added: "It was family reasons, he is okay."
Ross added: "Lewis was an able deputy and the way it worked, it was brilliant for him to get the opportunity to start the game.
“He can be pleased and supporters will have seen what he will bring.
"To Kaz's credit he travelled up late on Thursday night and arrived early hours Friday.
“He wanted to be with us first thing Friday and he only met the players on Friday.
“I don’t even know if he knows everyone’s names in the team!
“He is a nice young man. It is very different to what he has been playing in, it will help us through and get him some decent game time will help him too.”