Sunderland AFC news: Ex-defender makes stunning claims and slams David Moyes as Jack Ross talks promotion hopes

Jack Ross.
Jack Ross.

Jack Ross feels his Sunderland squad is ‘well-equipped’ to deal with the pressures of a promotion challenge, with added experience a big factor.

Sunderland signed five players in January, either on loan or permanent deals, with two of those Grant Leadbitter and Will Grigg bringing a wealth of experience to Wearside.

The battle for promotion in League One is intense with five clubs competing for the two automatic slots.

“It’s certainly not a hindrance,” said Ross, when asked whether the added promotion experience in the squad will help this season.

“It’s certainly not easy, no matter what league you’re playing in, to win promotion. It’s a slog, it’s a grind, it’s a really tough thing to do.

“There is an understanding right through the squad of what it takes to achieve that and also being able to carry that expectation on your shoulders.

“We certainly feel we’re well-equipped with what we have in the dressing room.”

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Meanwhile, former Sunderland defender Patrick van Aanholt has blasted David Moyes and revealed how he tried to force through a reunion with Sam Allardyce at Crystal Palace.

Van Aanholt made 95 appearances for the Black Cats between 2014 and 2017, enjoying a productive spell under Allardyce in helping the club avoid relegation before Moyes took over.

The Dutchman said he couldn’t get along with Scot Moyes, and criticised his coaching methods in an open and frank chat with fellow countryman Andy Van Der Meijde.

And he revealed that Allardyce contacted him before landing the job at Palace to say that he wanted the left-back to join him at Selhurst Park, prompting Van Aanholt to try to force through the big-money move.

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Asked about Moyes, Van Aanholt said: “What kind of coach is that? I’ve never experienced someone like that.

“I’ve had two coaches I couldn’t get along with, he is definitely one of them.

“The first day he came, the day before a match we did corners and free-kicks.

“Every detail. Toes need to point down, arms three metres apart, give signals. All that stuff. I thought to myself, is this guy serious?

“But for a hour long. After a while the boys started to get cold. Then the guys started to get annoyed with him, with all his rules.

“He put me on the bench against West Brom, then I came in and scored, I lost my mind. After that he never benched me again.”

The 28-year-old eventually moved to Palace in a £14million deal after a transfer saga that dragged on throughout the 2017 January transfer window, with the player telling the club he didn’t want to play for them anymore.

Van Aanholt’s final game for the Black Cats was in a 2-0 defeat against West Brom on January 21, where he turned in a woeful performance.

However, the Dutch international says he had been told by Allardyce to take it easy and not get injured as the two clubs had already accepted a fee for his transfer.

Van Aanholt added: “In January my old coach called me, Allardyce. He was about to sign (become manager) at Palace. He called me and said ‘I’m gonna sign at Palace, you need to come with me’.

“I said I would come, I don’t like it here at Sunderland anyway.

“So I went to Moyes and said I want to leave. He said ‘no, you’re not leaving!’ So we argued, we had a really big argument.

“I didn’t want to train anymore, I said my family had already left.

“So, I called my agent and he said this is how you should approach him: you should respond to his feelings and say you don’t like it here anymore.

“I barged in the door, I didn’t even knock. I said ‘let me go right now! I don’t want to train with you anymore I don’t want to play for you anymore’.

“He said ‘you’re not leaving, you’re way too important’.

“Eventually, we had an away game against West Brom, so we took a flight. My agent called me and said they’ve accepted an offer they couldn’t refuse. But I still had a game to play, so I called Allardyce and he said ‘do whatever you need to do tomorrow but don’t get injured ... they already accepted the offer so you’re already mine’."