Sunderland boss reveals why Josh Maja didn't train ahead of Doncaster clash

Jack Ross has revealed why Josh Maja didn't train for Sunderland today
Jack Ross has revealed why Josh Maja didn't train for Sunderland today

Jack Ross has revealed that Josh Maja did not train with Sunderland ahead of the trip to Doncaster Rovers.

But the Sunderland boss has confirmed that the move was purely precautionary, with the striker expected to feature at the Keepmoat Stadium tomorrow evening.

An ankle injury has troubled Maja in recent weeks, and he was rested for the Checkatrade Trophy victory over Carlisle United before the international break.

While the ankle injury continues to trouble the teenager, Ross believes that it won't rule him out of the midweek clash - although he did emphasise that Sunderland have a duty of care regarding the striker.

"Josh Maja didn't train today, but that was precautionary," revealed Ross, speaking ahead of the trip to Doncaster.

"He's had an ongoing issue with his ankle. Nothing major, just something that's troubled him a little bit.

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"He's had to play with that over the last two or three games.

"It's one of those where we have a duty of how we manage him over the season, because his target should be to play 35, 45 games in the league and cup.

"If he does that at 19 years-old that's great for him moving forward."

The 19-year-old was uncharacteristically quiet during the 2-0 win at Shrewsbury Town and was withdrawn early in the second half at the New Meadow in a move which eventually paid dividends as his replacement, Lynden Gooch, laid on both Sunderland's goals.

And while acknowledging that his performance was not his best, the Sunderland boss believes that the display was merely an off-day and that the striker will continue to contribute as the season progresses.

"His performance on Saturday dipped below the levels he is showing," Ross admitted.

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"He's going to get that, he's 19 years old and this is the first season he's played consistently week in, week out.

"He hasn't missed a league game since the start of the season and that, not just physically but mentally, is a challenge for a young player.

"It was just one of those days for him where he wasn't at his best, but the contribution he has made this season is great and he'll keep doing that."