Jack Ross explains the thinking behind postponing Sunderland's clash with Fleetwood

Jack Ross says he postponed the fixture with Fleetwood Town due to the potential disruption in the makeup of his side.

Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 4:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 4:30 pm
Conor McLaughlin is one of three Sunderland players called up for international duty next week

The Black Cats have had Jon McLaughlin, Conor McLaughlin and Tom Flanagan called up by their respective national sides.

Conor McLaughlin has recently established himself as first choice right-back, allowing Luke O’Nien to thrive in a role further up the pitch.

O’Nien scored his first goal of the season in the 2-1 win over MK Dons last season.

Ross has previously admitted that he wanted to avoid postponing games where possible due the potential pile-up of fixtures later in the season, and while acknowledging that it is not an ideal scenario, he believes it was the sensible decision.

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“I spoke a few weeks ago about the potential consequences in terms of a fixture backlog etc,” he said.

“Equally, we’ve had three players in our matchday squad called up, two that are playing regularly within our back five.

“It’s not a case of not having enough personnel, it’s looking at the potential disruption to the team. That’s then subject to not picking up any fresh injuries over the next couple of games as well.

“It’s not ideal.

“Ideally you’d have no players called up and it would be straightforward.

“We met the criteria and it’s players who are, even the makeup of the personnel involved, you lose your first choice right-back and then a player who could potentially play there in Tom Flanagan.

“The whole balance of what you then have to do and how that affects the rest of the team, you then have to consider whether you push ahead.”

Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton has subsequently claimed the Black Cats made the decision because ‘they knew there would only one outcome’.

Speaking before those comments, Ross insisted the opposition played no part in his decision.

“It’s nothing to do with the opposition,” he said.

“It’s purely about us and how it affects what we do.

“I didn’t look at the potential form of the opposition or anything like that, just how it would affect our makeup as a squad and a team and once we assessed that we felt it was the right thing to do.”