Why Jack Ross is unlikely to alter Sunderland’s open approach ahead of their Stadium of Light return

Jack Ross expects to keep Sunderland on the frotn foot as thety head into the final stages of the League One campaign.

Tuesday, 26th February 2019, 6:00 am
OUFC 1-1 SAFC 09-02-2019. Picture by FRANK REID

Ross had been concerned by his side’s attacking struggles at the turn of the year but over three home games last week, saw them open up considerably and dramatically improve their output.

That gave the opposition space to enjoy but that is a sacrifice Ross is willing to make.

The balance was perfect as Sunderland kept a clean sheet at Bristol Rovers on Saturday but the demands at home, where teams often sit deep and look to frustrate, have been very different.

Plymouth Argyle are the visitors at the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon.

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“It has been fairly consistent throughout my management career,” Ross said.

“We have had a lot of draws this season, too many, but I don’t think any of them have been because we have tried to stifle the game, it has just been the way the games have panned out.

“Craig Samson on my staff would give you the best insight into that as he played as a goalkeeper under me and he knew how difficult it was to keep clean sheets!

“I enjoyed the Gillingham game, I like it when we play like that,” he added.

“I would obviously like us to keep more clean sheets because we have scored in every league game this season, so then naturally you give yourself more of a chance of winning the game.

“It is very difficult to get both, that perfection, it is really challenging.

“I would take how we performed in the last three home games nine times out of 10 because we have looked threatening.

“If I am watching as a neutral or one of our fans, I would have enjoyed it.”

Ross believes that approach best suits his squad, with the likes of Aiden McGeady in fine form ahead of the run-in.

“You have to adjust as to how you are as a squad within the league and what your ambitions are,” he said.

“Naturally for us, the ambition is to be promoted and we have always viewed ourselves as one of the stronger teams in the league.

“I’d expect us to always play the game on the front foot.

“Naturally if you are in charge of a team in the lower part of the league then you have a different approach to it.

“I have had that, at my first management job, at Alloa, a part-time team in a league with Rangers and Hibs in the league, it was a different approach then.

“I am fortunate to have the tools at my disposal to enable us to play that way and enough good players in the squad to deal with that.”