Jack Ross explains why key Sunderland players didn't start against Oxford United

Jack Ross has provided a fitness update on several key Sunderland players.

Sunday, 4th August 2019, 4:55 pm

Aiden McGeady and Duncan Watmore started the 1-1 draw against Oxford United at the Stadium of Light on the bench, with Chris Maguire joining them.

There was no place at all for Max Power for the opening day of the campaign, the midfielder having missed a chunk of pre-season as he works his way back to fitness from an injury suffered in the League One play-off final to Charlton Athletic at the end of May.

Asked about the key quartet, Ross explained: “Aiden wasn't fit enough to start, Duncan was borderline and Chris missed a chunk of pre-season as well.

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Sunderland forward Duncan Watmore.

“A number of those are working their way back to full fitness because they missed 50 or 60 per cent of pre-season.

“Aiden missed a lot at the end of last season as well.

“I don't think we could have had any more attack-minded players on the pitch at the start of the end of the game but them coming back to full fitness should hopefully help us become a bit more clinical in the final third.”

On Power’s absence, Ross added: “It was the same with Max Power, he's missed most of pre-season.”

The Black Cats started their League One campaign with a disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Oxford United.

They have a week now between fixtures ahead of next weekend’s away game at Ipswich Town.