Jack Ross sets challenge for Will Grigg as Sunderland fail to make their early dominance pay again

Jack Ross challenged Will Grigg to produce more after another frustrating night in front of goal for the January signing.

By Phil Smith
Wednesday, 01 May, 2019, 24:04
Will Grigg missed a good first half chance before being replaced by Kazaiah Sterling in the second half at Fleetwood

Grigg was in the starting XI at Fleetwood Town for the first time since the 5-4 defeat to Coventry City earlier in April.

He had two big openings in the first quarter of the game but couldn’t convert, and his influenced faded before he was replaced by Kazaiah Sterling in the second half.

Grigg has been struggling with an ankle injury in recent times but Ross sees his performances must improve.

“Yeah partly [managing his ankle] but partly also I think he knows that his performance level needs to go up notches as well,” he said.

“Because he has more in him, undoubtedly, we need to see more of that as well.”

This was the third time in as many matches that Sunderland have been pegged back after taking the lead.

Those dropped points have proved costly as Barnsley and Luton Town were confirmed as automatic promotion winners on Tuesday night.

Ross admits a failure to kill off games is a recurring issue.

“In every match, every level, people always say it gives the opposition the opportunity and we have seen that countless times this season,” he said.

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“It gives them a sniff.

“It is frustrating because it is not like we are not creating. We have had opportunities to go further ahead in games, that second goal would have made all the difference.

“It only takes one moment of defensive insecurity.

“Over the last three games, we have missed collectively Peterborough, Portsmouth, Fleetwood, a lot of good opportunities,” he added.

“If you take them then the scoreline in all three games is different. When you don’t take them you have to keep a clean sheet and we haven’t done that. It is not a good recipe.

“The truth is you can’t shy away from it, our results over the last five or six games has not been good enough to get in the top two. That is what cost us.”

The Black Cats now travel to Southend United on Saturday looking to end the regular season on a high.

They have won just one of their last six league games.