Sunderland AFC news: Jack Ross eyes Premier League midfielder move as Cats handed major boost

Sunderland continue to hit the headlines as they prepare for their trip to Port Vale in the FA Cup.

Sunderland are thought to be keen on Arsenal's Joe Willock
Sunderland are thought to be keen on Arsenal's Joe Willock

And Jack Ross was today handed a major boost ahead of his preparations for a busy week, which will see the Black Cats play three games in just six days.

It looked as if the Sunderland boss would have to do without stopper Jon McLaughlin for two of those fixtures, with a Scotland international call-up meaning the 31-year-old would miss fixtures against Morecambe and Wycombe.

However, following a conversation with Scotland manager Alex McLeish, Ross confirmed today that McLaughlin had withdrawn from the squad and would now be eligible for these key fixtures.

"I spoke to Alex [McLeish] yesterday and I'd had a chat to Jon previously to that," said Ross.

"I was very clear to Alex that I would never stand in the way of any of my players being involved in their international team, but we're in a unique situation where we have international players but can't get games automatically called off for being in the Premier League or Championship.

"That is a challenge for international managers as well, because they're obviously selecting their squads on who they would like available.

"So I had a chat with Alex and explained that our game with Wycombe would be going ahead and that Jon was obviously third choice in that squad.

"Between us, we agreed that it would be good for Jon to play in that fixture for us, so I'm very grateful to Alex for how helpful he was and how understanding he was of the position we were in in, and that it wasn't down to a lack of desire from Jon to be involved."

Meanwhile, reports have suggested that the Black Cats are eyeing up a move for Arsenal youngster Joe Willock.

The 19-year-old is thought to have a number of admirers both in England and abroad and the Gunners are willing to allow the attacking midfielder to leave on loan in January.

And Football Insider claim that Sunderland are the front-runners for his signature after watching him feature for Arsenal's under-23 side last year.