Jack Ross rules out adding to squad and explains why trialist won’t join Sunderland

Jack Ross will have to make some key decisions
Jack Ross will have to make some key decisions
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Armenian defender Gael Andonian has left Sunderland without signing a deal.

The 23-year-old centre-back recently arrived on Wearside for a trial with Jack Ross eager to take a look at his potential.

However, the Black Cats boss has essentially admitted that the failure to move Papy Djilobodji and Didier Ndong on means that he will not be able to make any further additions to his squad.

Andonian, who has 22 caps for his country, was released by Marseille in the summer after spending time on loan at Greek second tier side Veria last season.

He impressed in an 2-1 win for Sunderland U23s against West Brom, which Ross watched alongside assistant James Fowler and first team coach John Potter.

Ross had been open to the idea of bringing in a naturally left-sided centre-back capable of filling in at left-back in order to complete his defensive options.

He had considered taking another look at Andonian when the U23s take on Norwich City at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.

However, a deal will not happen and Ross says he has no serious concerns about the situation.

He said: “There’ll be nothing on that.

“We had a decision to make in terms of how he fitted into the squad but equally now, we have some things to consider in terms of where we are with Papy and Didier, and how they weren’t resolved before most of those European windows closed.

“We need to address those first.

“But I’m not complaining about that, I did say at the time that as a squad, we’re in a healthy position in terms of what we’ve got in the time we had to put it together.”

Ross had also been keen to add another attacking option in the closing days of the transfer window but the saga with Djilobodji and Ndong meant that was not possible.

The situation could also have an impact on what business Ross can do in January, depending on how it develops in the coming months.

Ndong remains AWOL while Djilobodji was served notice on his contract earlier this week.

Cats boss Ross, however, is pleased with the squad he has managed to build in tough circumstances.

Speaking ahead of the game against Burton, he said: “I have to remind myself of that, genuinely.

“Early in my tenure I sat in my office on a few occasions and thought, this is a heck of a job in terms of turning this round and how we “piece a squad together.

“I was asking myself, ‘who is coming back?’ I honestly had no idea who was going to walk though the door.

“First day of pre-season I think we only had 10 or so. You forget that.

“If I take myself to being in the barn at the training ground on the first day and doing the testing, we had two groups of five or something like that.

“How quickly we’ve got to this stage is encouraging...

“I speak to Tony Coton a lot and he’ll say that he thinks we’ve done a really job in terms of getting this together.

“We’ll have got some things wrong, that’ll happen and we’ll see that in the fullness of time, we’ll continue to get some things wrong in the future.

“But it’s encouraging that we’ve got a lot under real duress in terms of times and circumstance.”