The big decisions facing Sunderland boss ahead of Ipswich Town test

Jack Ross and the Sunderland squad would no doubt have wished they’d had a game on Tuesday gone so they could quickly put to bed the deflating opening day draw against Oxford.

Friday, 9th August 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Friday, 9th August 2019, 10:09 am
Sunderland manager Jack Ross.

Instead, there was a week between fixtures and every decision made has been analysed and examined, with a heavy dose of criticism along the way.

Sunderland return to action at Portman Road on Saturday when they face Paul Lambert’s Ipswich Town - and Ross has a number of big decisions to make:

To keep faith with the system?

Ross has always made the point his system will be fluid as Sunderland have good options. They started with a 3-4-1-2 against Oxford.

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Towards the end, Sunderland switched to four at the back.

It still resulted in another home draw. Therefore, Ross will have to weigh up which system to go with for the game against Ipswich.

Clearly the Scot is keen on playing three at the back with wing-backs so it’s hard to imagine he’d throw that system out so quickly, especially with the players still getting used to it.

More quality on the ball in the final third, more intensity and clinical finishing needed.

Recall Grant Leadbitter or stick with McGeouch and Dobson?

Ross made Leadbitter his captain but he isn’t a guaranteed starter. McGeouch and Dobson were given the nod against Oxford and were two of the brighter players.

Their partnership showed promise but Ross was keen to stress Leadbitter would play a big role this season - could he return against his former club?

Or is he set for an extended spell on the bench, and has the manager made a rod for his own back making him skipper?

Stick with misfiring Will Grigg?

With Charlie Wyke not set to return until next week, it seems inevitable Grigg will be tasked with leading the attack, alongside the feisty Marc McNulty.

Both strikers could do with a goal, Grigg especially. He is badly struggling for form, pressure mounting with every game.

It’s a big issue for Ross and how to get the best out of him is a major headache.