Jack Ross has mixed feelings on Sunderland’s enforced break but says his promotion-hunting squad will be firing on all cylinders when they return to action at Shrewsbury Town.
The Black Cats don’t have a game today as a result of international call-ups with Jon McLaughlin, Tom Flanagan, Bryan Oviedo, Bali Mumba and Benji Kimpioka all away.
It would have left Sunderland stretched but clubs can request a postponement if there are three or more call-ups, meaning the scheduled visit of Blackpool had to be rearranged.
And given Sunderland would have been missing their No 1 keeper, Ross says it was a ‘no-brainer’ to postpone.
Sunderland head into the break on the back of back-to-back wins over Bradford City in League One and Carlisle United in the Checkatrade Trophy and Ross admits he’d liked to have built on the momentum in the league but it does at least give his squad a much-needed break after an intense start.
Ross said: “Probably the way the league table is now we would rather have kept going and tried to build momentum but there is a balance to it – where we would have been without our first-choice goalkeeper, who’s been brilliant for us this season. Right away that’s a no-brainer for us.
“Other players in our squad at Bradford – Bali [Mumba] travels with England, Benji [Kimpioka] is away with Sweden – Tom [Flanagan], so we’d be very stretched squad-wise.
“We train at a very high intensity as well so it allowed us after the Checkatrade game to have time off for everybody and then I think we’ll come back with a real freshness in the lead-up to Shrewsbury game.”
Sunderland are third in League One, a point behind second-placed Peterborough and four off league leaders Portsmouth. Their promotion rivals are all in action, Pompey travel to AFC Wimbledon and Posh to Scunthorpe.
The Sunderland squad returns to training at the Academy of Light on Monday to begin preparations for Saturday’s game at Shrewsbury.