Sunderland defender Billy Jones says the players are all together now - though wantaway players previously acted up in training

Billy Jones has revealed unhappy players have acted up in training '“ but insists the crop of Sunderland players at the club now are fully focused on fighting for the cause.

Thursday, 18th January 2018, 5:30 am
Billy Jones. Picture by Frank Reid

Jones insists manager Chris Coleman is building a fully committed squad as the Black Cats fight to beat the Championship drop.

Coleman has regularly insisted that he will move on any players who do not want to be at the club and January has already seen a number of players head for the exit – Lewis Grabban and James Vaughan the most high profile.

More departures are expected this month and Jones believes that after some difficult periods, the effects are already showing on the training ground,

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He said: “Obviously where we are in the table shows that it has been a tough time.

“We’ve obviously got 19 games and we know that we’re in a battle. The gaffer has said, he’s all in, if any of us are not all in he’ll be looking to move us on.

“It is tough times but hopefully we can get a win this weekend and start moving up the table.

“The training group that is out there today, everyone seems to be working hard, putting it in and 100 per cent committed for this weekend.

“Obviously we have been in training, situations have cropped up where you have seen players who particularly aren’t happy, maybe want to leave, they can act (up) a bit, start to interrupt the sessions.

“At this moment in time everyone out there is focused on getting the result this weekend.”

With Sunderland entrenched in a battle at the bottom, Coleman has warned the squad they must be prepared to scrap, saying ‘you don’t go into a dogfight with kittens’.

And Jones believes the dressing room is united and prepared to scrap for each other in a bid to get out of trouble.

Asked about any friction in the ranks, Jones said: “I would say I am not really feeling that at this moment in time in the dressing room. It’s good.

“Everyone training in there, you feel like they are going to give their all for the club and for yourself as a team-mate.

“That’s all you want as a team-mate, to look to the front or to the side knowing they are going to give everything they have for you and work their hardest.

“That’s the way I feel about all the team-mates out there training at this moment in time.”

The Black Cats face fellow strugglers Hull City and Birmingham City in their next two league fixtures, with the transfer window shutting a day after the trip to St Andrews.

Coleman is desperate to add new faces as soon as possible and Jones believes any new additions would act as a big boost to the dressing room.

He said: “It’s an important transfer window and it is a boost to get new players in, and competition for places is massive and it really does help the squad.

“I’m sure the manager and the club are working their hardest to bring in the type of players we need and the gaffer wants.”