Sunderland boss on the big centre-back debate and a possible recall for Alim Ozturk or Glenn Loovens

Alim Ozturk in Checkatrade Trophy action
Alim Ozturk in Checkatrade Trophy action
Have your say

Jack Ross says there will be no knee-jerk reaction to Sunderland's defensive woe against Coventry City, but left the possibility of changes to his XI very much open.

The Black Cats welcome a Doncaster Rovers side on Friday who have won their last four games in League One.

After shipping five in their last outings, there have been calls for Ross to switch his defensive partnerships.

Burnley loanee Jimmy Dunne was on the bench against Coventry, with Alim Ozturk and Glenn Loovens not in the squad.

"I don't think we've ever reacted after just one game," Ross said.

"But you look at games over a period and if you see patterns, anything good or bad, you make decisions accordingly.

"There's been a lot for us to consider this week, how they [Doncaster] play and how we get the best from what we have.

"Any decision we make is not knee-jerk to what has gone before but equally, it would be remiss to say they're not part of your consideration.

"The week of training allows you to assess players mentally and physically," he added.

"Physically very obviously to see where they are in terms of performance in training, how they're feeling because a lot of the players have played a lot of games and sometimes that takes its toll at different times.

"Then mentally, because they know they didn't play well in the game, but knowing it and understanding it, because I've got an honest group that way, it's then how you come to terms with that and dust yourselves down.

"Selection on Saturday will be based on that, rather than just on a 90-minute performance. "

Notably, Ross said he had absolutely no doubt that Ozturk or Loovens would be ready to go if called upon.

Loovens has not played any competitive senior football since being sent off in the 3-1 defeat at Portsmouth just before Christmas.

Ozturk's last outing was in the 2-0 Checkatrade Trophy victory over Manchester City U21's on January 22nd.

"The good thing is, we've spoken a lot about players conducting themselves properly in training and playing bounce games in the right manner, making sure they're ready to go if required." Ross said.

"We've seen that from a number of players recently.

"There are others in the squad who maybe haven't had that yet but that I would have no fear about because I think that they've earned that potential opportunity, and shown enough about their general performance level to ensure that they're fit enough and mentally ready to go.

"As I've said, there's been a lot for us to weigh up this week and what's best for Friday and the rest of the season."