Sunderland players rally round Max Power as Jack Ross sternly rejects criticism of the midfielder

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Jack Ross mounted a passionate defence of Max Power after this third red card of the season and says any criticism of the midfielder would be ‘entirely unfair’.

The 25-year-old was sent off for serious foul dplay in the 23rd minute, leaving his facing the prospect of a five game ban.

Ross, however, felt it was the second time this season the summer signing has been had done by and said he would not defend him unless he genuinely believed he was in the right.

“Any criticism of him is entirely unfair,” Ross said.

“In no way he should be criticised for that because it was the wrong decision. I have watched it and he doesn’t even give the official a decision to make.

“If I thought he had done something here on the back of what has gone before then he’d deserve criticism but absolutely none should come his way.

“We have spoken about his previous ones, I am loathe to go over old ground with those because I believe this should be in isolation. The only thing is they will be related [in terms of the ban], but I think it is such a strange decision.

“I will say what I think. Usually I will be measured in that.

“I would not have reason to think anyonme should be critical of him, his team-mates would be in there if they thought he deserved it and they would have every right to be critical if he did, my staff would have and the fans would have. But you can’t even look at it. It didn’t deserve to be a red card.”

Dean Keates agreed with the Sunderland’s assessment of the red, though he was left baffled by the decision to rule out Andy Cook’s first half effort for offside.

Sunderland will appeal the red shown to Max Power and a decision should be made in time for the visit of Barnsley on Tuesday night.

Sunderland forward Lynden Gooch says the players will have to ‘get an arm around him’ and insists the 25-yea-old will be a major player this season.

“From my view, I thought it was a bit harsh,” Gooch said.

“I thought he pulled out of the challenge. It’s disappointing because he’s a big player for us.

“All the lads, I don’t think anyone thought it was a red. It’s one of those things. The main thing is we stuck together and got a big point.

“He’s going through a rough spell, we need to stick together. We’ll need to put an arm round him, make sure he’s alright. That’s down to us as a group of players and staff to look after him. We know the quality that he possesses, he’s been promoted twice out of this league. We know we’re going to need him so hopefully he’s back soon.”