Jack Ross reveals his message to Sunderland midfielder Max Power ahead of Walsall return following red card drama

Max Power in action against Walsall last weekend.
Max Power in action against Walsall last weekend.
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Jack Ross has no qualms about starting Max Power at Walsall as Sunderland look to progress in the FA Cup.

The midfielder was given his marching orders after just 23 minutes of last weekend’s 2-2 draw in League One.

Power was facing a five-game ban following his third red but the FA overturned the ban on appeal and he will line up against the Saddlers today.

Power has since said he was ‘disappointed’ with the Walsall players’ reactions, though he understood it, but Ross doesn’t believe there will be any bad blood today.

Ross said: “I have no concerns [about playing him], he understands what is expected of him.

“I don’t think I made a huge thing of anything that went on on the pitch so that hasn’t stoked a fire in any sense.

“I’m not speaking about Saturday but in general this season, a couple of times it has happened when players have crowded referees. I have been surprised by it.

“But that should never influence a referee’s decision either. Saturday’s game is in complete isolation. It was a tough, competitive game.

“Last weekend was like a cup tie anyway, it will prepare us well.”

Speaking openly following the 4-2 win over Barnsley, Power admitted he ‘didn’t really feel myself’ and was conscious about making tackles, almost playing within himself.

It is a fine balance but Ross is confident Power - who played in a deeper role against Barnsley - will bounce back strongly.

Ross added: “Tuesday night helped Max a little bit, in terms of the role we asked him to play, it probably dictated how he played, it wasn’t done just with that in mind but it was a benefit of it.

“I had a conversation with him Thursday and I said to him he’d probably find that once these first few games are out the way, it will become second nature again.

“He will be fine. It was a difficult few days for him. It was another insight for him into the size of the club too because it created a lot of attention.

“That is another indication of what it is like to be involved at Sunderland, that is new for him. I was pleased for him and delighted that he got through and made a contribution. I’m glad we had the game so quickly.”