Jack Ross reveals his future plans for Luke O'Nien ahead of Bolton Wanderers trip
Jack Ross has failed to rule-out using Luke O’Nien in a more advanced role in future after being left impressed by his performance against Rotherham United.
O’Nien is expected to return to the right-hand side of the back four for the trip to Bolton Wanderers this afternoon, but Ross was pleased with the impact he made while playing just behind Marc McNulty during the 1-1 draw with the Millers.
And while the former Wycombe man will likely see his long-term future lie at the back, his manager hinted that he may be asked to play a more forward-thinking role as the season develops.
“I thought he did really well in the role,” said Ross.
“The way we asked him to play is what he brings to it.
“But he's a good full back as well and he posed a threat [when he moved there].
“We've said that it's about picking the right times to play in different areas according to what we're facing in a game.”
Ross made just two changes for the visit of Rotherham, and is expected to rotate his squad once against at the University of Bolton Stadium during a period which will see the Black Cats play five times in 14 days.
And while his selection came in for criticism from some quarters on Tuesday evening, Ross believes the attack-minded system ‘worked.’
“The other night, I'd be the first to say if we played a team and got it completely wrong in terms of how it panned out,” he admitted.
“I thought that it worked, and the thing that lets you down is not going further ahead.”
Sunderland could extend their unbeaten league run to three games in the North West, but will face a Bolton side beginning to show signs of improvement after a tricky start to the campaign.
“They’ve endured a difficult start not just because of the external circumstances, but because they’re in a difficult position in the league,” added Ross.
“But I think we’re getting them at perhaps a more difficult time than some other clubs have done because they’ve got a little bit more stability and a lot of the players are now returning to match fitness.”