Jack Ross reveals the conversation with Scotland manager Alex McLeish that led to Sunderland boost

Jack Ross has been handed a major boost - thanks to Alex McLeish
Jack Ross has been handed a major boost - thanks to Alex McLeish
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Jack Ross has revealed how a conversation with Scotland manager Alex McLeish has helped provide his Sunderland squad with a major boost.

The Black Cats looked set to have to do without first choice stopper Jon McLaughlin for the visit of Wycombe Wanderers next weekend, with the summer signing handed a call-up to the Scotland squad for their upcoming UEFA Nations League fixtures.

McLeish's side face Albania and Israel during the upcoming window with McLaughlin expected to be third choice behind Craig Gordon and Allan McGregor.

With that in mind, the Sunderland ace today withdrew from the squad and was replaced by Kilmarnock's Jamie MacDonald - meaning he can feature against the Chairboys next weekend.

And Ross revealed today how an honest discussion with his compatriot proved the key to allowing the stopper to return to club duty.

"I spoke to Alex [McLeish] yesterday and I'd had a chat to Jon previously to that," said Ross, speaking ahead of the trip to Port Vale.

"I was very clear to Alex that I would never stand in the way of any of my players being involved in their international team, but we're in a unique situation where we have international players but can't get games automatically called off for being in the Premier League or Championship.

"That is a challenge for international managers as well, because they're obviously selecting their squads on who they would like available.

"So I had a chat with Alex and explained that our game with Wycombe would be going ahead and that Jon was obviously third choice in that squad.

"Between us, we agreed that it would be good for Jon to play in that fixture for us, so I'm very grateful to Alex for how helpful he was and how understanding he was of the position we were in in, and that it wasn't down to a lack of desire from Jon to be involved.

"It's a difficult situation when your club side continues to play games in that period has well."

McLaughlin can now feature against Wycombe next weekend, leaving Tom Flanagan and Bali Mumba as the only members of the first team squad handed international call-ups.

Such news no doubt comes as a boost to Ross who will have to navigate three tricky fixtures in six days, and will now do so with a key player back in his ranks.