Jack Ross is still hoping that Papy Djilobodji and Didier Ndong will find a new club, but insists that their return will not disrupt the harmony he has built at the Academy of Light.
After the pair saw deadline day moves fall through, their representatives have suggested that they will return to Wearside to push for a first team place.
Chairman Stewart Donald has made clear that will not happen and the club could pursue legal action after their failure to report for pre-season training.
Djilobodji (right) is expected back at Sunderland today but Ross remains hopeful that a resolution will be reached. “They may do [return] and if they do we’ll deal with them accordingly when they come in,” Ross said.
“I haven’t had any interest in them because they’ve never turned up and haven’t been part of what I’ve tried to build here. I don’t ever envisage them being part of that.
“However, that situation becomes more complicated if they come back in and it probably starts to extend beyond my remit as a manager but we’ll deal with that as and when. There’s still several overseas windows at the moment that allows the to ... I wouldn’t say escape, that’s not the right word, but to find a resolution.”
Ross admits he will have to consider what impact their return would have on the spirit he has built at the Academy of Light but is confident that it will not prove to be too great a distraction.
He added that it was key that the club ensured it is a situation that never happens again.
“I don’t think they would disrupt what’s in there now [team spirit],” Ross said.
“I think what’s in there now is strong enough in its numbers and the mood of the group that I wouldn’t be concerned that way. It’s just peculiar circumstances to get your head around.
“I’d probably have to separate myself because I’ve been a footballer, then a manager, and I genuinely love the game. That bothers me to an extent [that people don’t want to play].
“Then I have to look at my role here and how I deal with it in terms of having those problems because they could come back. I would never consider it to be an issue. We’re strong enough as a group to not be derailed.
“There’s been a lot of unique things in this job to date and this is one that I don’t think I’ll ever encounter again,” he added.
It’s unusual to have one player in this situation never mind two or if three you count Lamine’s [Kone] situation, which was a little bit different but has some similarities.
“There’s been a lot of challenges and not just for me – for guys like Richard Hill and Tony Coton because of the time they’ve had to spend on trying to find solutions and they’ve worked incredibly hard on that. I feel for them because I know how frustrating it is.
“Hopefully as a club we’re moving in a direction where we never put ourselves in this position again.
“I think Stewart might reflect on that this week when he does a podcast. I’m sure he’ll expand on that.”
Ross was left disappointed that he couldn’t add to his squad on deadline day but is happy with his options on the whole.
“If I was being really greedy I would have liked one more in the forward area but I knew the circumstances of what we’ve taken on here was always going to inhibit us towards the end of this window,” he said.
“I’d made peace with that because I knew the circumstances that we needed a resolution to a couple of players’ problems that I’ve inherited as the manager and everyone’s inherited at the club but there wasn’t. That obviously restricted us but I’ve said before about me making the best of what I have at whatever club I’m at. That’s how I view it every single week.”
“I’ve got good players here – players I like and trust and players I think I can make better. We’re unbeaten so it’s a decent start in that sense.”