Jack Ross explains key impact ex-Middlesbrough ace Grant Leadbitter has had at Sunderland - on and off the pitch
Grant Leadbitter is ‘desperate’ to bring success to boyhood club Sunderland AFC after returning to Wearside.
The former Middlesbrough midfielder has been a revelation since joining Sunderland in January, providing four assists with his dangerous corners and bringing greater control to the midfield.
Ross has praised his impact on and off the pitch since returning home.
And the club is well placed to enjoy a successful end to the season, having reached the Checkatrade Trophy final with the Black Cats well placed in the automatic promotion hunt.
“I think he’s been very good from the moment he stepped back into the club,” reflected Ross.
“The contribution that will be most talked about is the one everyone will see on the pitch.
“I get to see his off-field contribution on a daily basis and I’ve liked Grant from the very first time I spoke to him.
“He’s been a really good addition for us and how he’s strengthened the group on and off the pitch cannot be underestimated.
“We’ve got some really great characters in our group and all we did was just go and get another one.
“People shouldn’t underestimate that. I think people often think you should only recruit players like that if you don’t have enough of them, but I think you can never have enough and should keep buying them if they’re available.
“It’s not easy to find a player who fits both on and off the field but he does fit both and I think you can see in his performances and how he reacts after the games, he’s loving his football at the minute and he’s desperate to bring success to the club.”
Ross takes his Sunderland side to Wycombe Wanderers, 12th, he was full of praise for the job being done by Gareth Ainsworth.
Wycombe have lost their last four but Ross is fully aware of the threat they pose, the reverse fixture finishing 1-1 in November.
Ross added: “Gareth is someone I’ve got a lot of admiration for and the job he’s done and to be fair, when he came up here, the way he spoke after that game was very respectful, but equally very complimentary of his own team, which he should have been after playing in the manner they did that game.
“They maybe haven’t had the best of results recently but even the games I’ve watched, the one thing they do is keep themselves in games and they very much seem like they all buy into how he wants to play.”