Jack Ross on why Sunderland must beat Walsall ahead of two-week League One break

Sunderland manager Jack Ross has spoken about the importance of heading into the 17-day league break with a win against Walsall.

Thursday, 14th March 2019, 3:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th March 2019, 3:33 pm
Sunderland manager Jack Ross

The Black Cats will sign off from League One action on Saturday evening ahead of the international break and the Checkatrade Trophy Final.

Ross' men were due to face Fleetwood next week, however with key players such as Will Grigg selected for their countries, the game was re-arranged for the final week of the campaign.

That means Sunderland will wait until Wednesday April 3 to return to the league format at Accrington Stanley, three days after their Wembley encounter with Portsmouth.

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When asked if the visit of the Saddlers is a must-win, Ross said: "It's never really made any difference to me, the stage of the season, the consequences.

"When you manage this club, there is an expectation that you win every week. When you carry that pressure all the time, the pressure never really changes.

"We know at this stage of the season in what we want to achieve, we need to make sure we're winning games and that's obviously the case for us starting on Saturday.

"Particularly when we go into a period where the way things have worked out for us, we don't play a league game for a number of weeks.

"It's very important we go into this break with a win."

In the space of a month, Ross' players will play NINE matches to fulfil as they hope to pip Barnsley - who they drew 0-0 with on Tuesday - to an automatic promotion spot.

Ross revealed he would have preferred the Fleetwood fixture to go ahead, although conceded it is out of the club's hands.

He said: "The difficulty for us is the number of fixtures we're going to face in the last period of the season.

"We've had a tough week with Bristol (Rovers), Wycombe and Barnsley away in the space of a week - it's difficult with everything that has evolved with it.

"On the back of those games, the break - you welcome it but because of the consequences of the Fleetwood game being postponed, I'd rather play it and not have that game to catch up on.

"We've experienced earlier in the season of playing catch up and what that brings.

"In an ideal world, I'd much prefer the Fleetwood game to be on but we're in a position where we can do anything about that because of the international call ups."