Ross appeared quietly confident and seems to be speaking with a renewed sense of steely confidence. Knowing full well what his team had to achieve in order to book that hallowed automatic promotion spot, Ross is bullish about being ready to repeat the quality of the Doncaster performance this afternoon.
“It’s a demanding schedule but we knew that was going to be the case in April,”
“We have enjoyed this week because although it wasn’t a full week, the benefit of having that extra time to prepare was seen on Friday.
“We will regroup and see how everyone is physically, do our preparation as quickly as we can for Peterborough – another difficult game – against a good side too.
“We will go there in a good frame of mind and we understand what we need to do to reach our goal this season.
"We got one out of the way on Friday and now we need to go again on Monday and do the same.”
Posh gaffer Darren Ferguson was disappointed to see his side concede late on the Fleetwood, but he also insists today is a big game for his team and he is well aware they have to win their remaining fixtures to stand a chance of being in the mix for the playoffs.
“Sunderland is a big game and it is one that we are looking forward too. We know that we have to win the remaining four fixtures if we are going to sneak into the top six. We have to keep going to the end. It was disappointing to concede a goal in stoppage time in the manner we did on Friday, but we have trained over the weekend and we will make changes.”
What could go down?
I am beyond excited to see the same team take to field again. You just get a sense that a lot of players are starting to develop little combinations with their peers and Charlie Wyke is playing with the kind of form and passion which convinced Jack Ross to sign him as our No. 9 in the summer. Ozturk and Dunne more than deserve another run out, but there will be question marks over the formers fitness levels as he hadn’t started in the league since the summer and was down with cramp towards the end of the Doncaster game.
The same game plan should definitely stand with Cattermole and Power/Leadbitter dictating play from the middle of the park, which in turn makes it less likely that the centre backs feel the need to hoof the ball with little intent up the field. McGeady and Morgan can cause chaos with their direct running and trickery and with Honeyman playing as if there were two of him to provide legs and support.
I must admit, McGeady and Morgan playing on each flank seems to have a nice balance. McGeady enjoys going to the corner and putting a cross in while Morgan enjoys cutting in and getting close to Wyke – it was this combination which resulted in the first goal against Doncaster, and what a goal it was!
If our centre backs continue in a no-nonsense fashion then I feel the last piece of the puzzle will be Lee Cattermole keeping one of the League’s most consistent attackers in Marcus Maddison quiet, who currently sits joint top in the league for assists this season on 13 (he shares the top spot with Doncaster’s James Coppinger who was kept so quiet on Friday by Luke O’Nien that he was subbed in the second half).
Like I said at the start I was most disheartened by the Coventry defeat and I was seriously worried for our promotion hopes. But following such an emphatic win against one of the league’s better sides in Doncaster I really feel this team has just hit the right notes, it felt so complete and galvanising to win in that manner. With big Charlie Wyke on absolute fire and Lee Cattermole again enjoying a purple patch I think we’ll have far too much swagger and determination for demoralised Posh side.
I’m going for a big 3-0 win so Sunderland fans across the globe can beat their chests and eye the Pompey fixture with a wry smile. Oh, best of luck to Coventry today against the Posh, I hope the officials do a better job than they did for Burton!