Jack Ross drops Sunderland goalkeeper selection hint ahead of Bristol Rovers Checkatrade Trophy clash
For many clubs, the Checkatrade Trophy can be seen as an unwanted distraction.
Sunderland, though, have taken the competition seriously all season and Jack Ross doesn’t want to see all that hard work go to waste by going out of the competition at the semi-final stage.
Ross is expected to make changes to the side that has won three straight League One games but given the depth of players at his disposal, it will still be a very strong side.
“We’ve got a really busy schedule at the moment, we’ve got a tough week in terms of travelling and two difficult league matches which will follow Tuesday night as well but we’re going into the semi-final of a competition we’ve worked really hard to win,” said Ross.
“I think it’s been 114 games to get there so we don’t want to let that go to waste!
“After the Plymouth game we assessed where some players were at because we’ve had some players who carried bumps and bruises into the game, others who picked up some issues, and then we’ll look at it from there.
“But we’ll pick a team that can win us the game because we want to get to the final and win the competition.”
Robbin Ruiter would seemingly be a certain starter having started all six previous games in the competition.
But Jack Ross was giving little away ahead of the game.
When asked whether Ruiter was the keeper for this competition, Ross said: “Not necessarily. We’ll just pick a team in every single game based on what we think is right for it and we’ll do it again on Tuesday.”
Sunderland are familiar with Rovers having played and beaten them in the league 2-0 a week last Saturday.
“I think having the game inbetween was helpful,” said Ross. “We had it earlier in the season with Walsall and when you play back-to-back it’s more difficult.
“That both of us played on Saturday inbetween facing each other again helps a little bit and brings a bit of freshness to the game.
“I know they made some changes to their line-up on Saturday from when they played us so it may be we face a team that has some freshness about it.
“The game will be very much on its own merits because they had a big result on Saturday and they’re desperately seeking points where they are at the moment.
“They’ll look on it probably as a bit of a relief.”