Sunderland receive Will Grigg boost as Jack Ross provides update on January targets and Josh Maja contract saga

Jack Ross says Sunderland are ‘making progress’ in their hunt for January additions - with promising news over Will Grigg’s ankle injury.

Tuesday, 22nd January 2019, 10:12 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd January 2019, 10:38 pm
Sunderland manager Jack Ross.

There were fears that the Wigan Athletic striker, Sunderland’s No.1 target this month, was facing a lengthy spell out with an injury picked up at the weekend but it is not as bad as first feared.

Sunderland want to bring in at least another striker this month, regardless of the ongoing contract saga with Josh Maja.

The 16-goal top scorer is yet to commit to a new deal and Ross expects clarity over that situation within the coming couple of days.

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The Scot, speaking after Sunderland’s 2-0 quarter final win over Manchester City U21s in the Checkatrade Trophy which puts Sunderland a win away from a Wembley final, says he will be in work bright and early today to focus on adding to the squad.

“We are continuing to work hard on strengthening the squad in a couple of areas,” said Ross, when asked for a January update.

“We are making progress on them.

“I am in first thing Wednesday and I would hope through the course of tomorrow I am going to be able to push things along further.

“Irrespective of that, if that is not bringing the ones identified to begin with then it is going to the next ones as time is marching on as we head towards the end of the month.”

Sunderland have so far had three bids for Grigg knocked back but remain keen on the Northern Ireland international.

His injury, is thankfully, a short-term one and Ross said on Monday that he still believes an agreement can be reached.

Maja, meanwhile, did not feature at the Stadium of Light last night, the 20-year-old ruled out with a calf injury.

Ross confirmed the striker had a knock, hence his absence, but says he wants clarity over the coming days regards his ongoing contract situation.

Maja’s contract runs out at the end of the season but a deadline for him to sign a new deal passed earlier this month.

West Ham United and Middlesbrough are among a host of clubs, including Rangers and Celtic, and Crystal Palace who are tracking Maja plus clubs in the German Bundesliga.

Asked if there was an update on Maja’s situation, Ross said: “No, he didn’t play [against Man City] as he came off on Saturday with a calf injury.

“He was touch and go, we can’t take any chances with it.

“I want clarity and I believe that clarity might come over the next couple of days.

“As things stand, I can’t bring that to you.

“I would hope that would be the case. We need it one way or the other.”

On Maja and Charlie Wyke’s absence, Ross added: “Every first team player not involved was injured, what we had available was it, they are all relatively minor knocks.

“They would have been involved had they not been, we have no game on Saturday. I would have rotated the team a bit anyway but that was all we had available.”

Sunderland now have a 10-day break between games, with the Black Cats not in action until after the January transfer deadline.

The squad will be given a few days off before returning to training at the Academy of Light on Monday morning.