Sunderland boss reveals reason behind Josh Maja absence as Tottenham Hotspur linked with summer move

Jack Ross says Josh Maja missed the 1-1 draw with Luton Town due to a stomach bug.

The 20-year-old has 15 goals in all competitions this season but is yet to commit his long-term future to the club.

Josh Maja.

Josh Maja.

Maja is currently weighing up a contract offer as his current deal expires at the end of the season.

Ross insists that his absence was down purely to illness.

"I know that there'll be 101 different theories as to why he wasn't involved," Ross said.

"I think generally I tell the truth.

"So when I see he was ill, that is the case.

"I first got word around 10 o'clock last night that he was feeling unwell, he deteriorated over night and didn't get any better this morning.

"The doctor went to see him this morning and he wasn't well, he had a stomach bug.

"One, Josh is absolutely not the kind of lad where that wouldn't be the case.

"Two, there is absolutely nothing happening with any club in terms of him leaving.

"Three, he just wasn't well.

"It is as straightforward as that."

A host of clubs have been linked with a move for 15-goal top scorer Maja, out of contract in the summer, including Manchester City, Bristol City, Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough, with Tottenham Hotspur again linked with a summer move for him over the weekend in the national press.

The report in the Daily Express claimed Spurs are tracking him and could look to seal him on a free in the summer.

Maja was replaced in the side by Chris Maguire, who scored the opening goal but is facing a potential three-game ban after seeing red in stoppage time.

Ross said the club are likely to appeal the decision.

Maguire was adjudged to have stamped on Luton midfielder Allan McCormack, something that Ross says replays show not to be the case.