Jack Ross hints at Sunderland defensive reshuffle with Alim Ozturk pushing for first league start

Jack Ross praised Alim Ozturk for taking his opportunity to impress in the 3-1 victory over Accrington Stanley on Tuesday night.

Friday, 16th August 2019, 10:44 am
Alim Ozturk in action against Portsmouth last season.

Ozturk was handed his first competitive start of the campaign and was a steady presence in defence.

The defender had a difficult start to life on Wearside last season but finished the campaign as arguably Ross’ most dependable option after a strong return to form.

His partnership with summer signing Jordan Willis showed promise at the Wham Stadium in the Carabao Cup win, and Ross now has a big decision to make for the visit of Portsmouth on Saturday.

“I’ve said often enough how pleased I was with how he conducted himself last season,” Ross said.

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“In fairness to him he’s been fit pre-season and looked fit. The thing about Alim is he will back himself.

“He would have viewed Tuesday night as an opportunity to make sure he stays in the team because he believes in his ability.

“His performance the other night was really good.

“The one thing about him is, he’s a really good footballer,” Ross added.

“He can defend but he’s good in possession, the other players recognise it. He’s a good player, if you watched us day in day out, he’s a good player with the ball and can make good decisions.

“He’s got that bravery in possession and I was really pleased with him the other night, I thought his overall contribution was good.”