Wise Men Say: Sunderland's draw at Bolton was Jack Ross' biggest failure - but he still deserves time

Where do we go from here?

Monday, 23rd September 2019, 12:34 pm
Jack Ross

While Saturday’s anticlimactic draw with league punchbags Bolton Wanderers made the minds up for many Sunderland fans over Jack Ross’s future at the club, I must admit it has left me feeling conflicted.

We have been left disappointed on many occasions over Ross’s 16-month tenure on Wearside - the draw against Accrington, defeat at Southend, the play off final at Wembley all stick in the mind as eminently winnable games where the team just hasn’t turned up, but Saturday was the biggest failure of them all.

It sounds crackers for us to be discussing his future after all that has gone before with this club, but for many of the 4,000 travelling fans at Bolton on Saturday,that was the final straw, hence the boos and catcalls.

Sign up to our Sunderland AFC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

I shared in the disappointment and have been left frustrated by our inability to kill teams off, to really put down a marker in this league. In both of our seasons down here we have rarely been convincing in victory, rarely looked like champions elect. Rarely been a team to fear.

Defensively we fear crosses more than Dracula did, and going forward we lack conviction in the final third regardless of the best efforts of Aiden McGeady or Lyndon Gooch. We lack a talisman, someone to hang your hat on. Our two main strikers cost money yet don’t score goals.

The narrative is that the fans’ expectations are unrealistic and that is having a negative effect on the team. But regularly attracting crowds near 30,000 and huge away followings should be a huge motivation, we should be bringing in players who relish this rather than fearing it.

We have assembled a League One squad no better than the one we had last season, but how much is that down to Jack Ross? What is our scouting and recruitment setup? Didn’t we bring in Tony Coton for this? What is he doing?

For all those wanting Ross out, we don’t lose many games in his charge, we are still in touch with the automatic places and no team other than Ipswich is making a real fist of putting together a promotion push. We’ve disappointed in three out of the last four matches but there’s nothing to suggest we can’t get out of the rut and start again.

It’s a league where anyone can beat anyone, so we need to get over the Bolton game quickly and get back to winning ways.

Winning games is the only way to get Ross back in favour.

If Ross was to go this week, who could we bring in? And how much better would they do with the squad they have?

I believe he’s earned a deal of goodwill from Sunderland over the last year and deserves the time and opportunity to turn it around.

But with a takeover on the horizon, it remains to be seen whether the new owners are necessarily prepared to do just that.