Ross turns to Mark as he searches for new keeper coach

Sunderland Echo - - Sport -

Ex­pe­ri­enced goal­keep­ing coach Mark Prud­hoe has taken over first team du­ties while Jack Ross searches for Jimmy Walker’s re­place­ment.

Walker (pic­tured) left the club this week to join Paul Lam­bert’s back­room staff at Ip­swich Town, cit­ing a de­sire to be closer to his fam­ily as the main rea­son for his de­ci­sion.

Ross is eager to make a per­ma­nent ap­point­ment as soon as pos­si­ble but says hav­ing the re­spected Prud­hoe to lean on takes the pres­sure off.

Prud­hoe has worked with goal­keep­ers in Sun­der­land’s academy for a num­ber of years.

“[Jimmy leav­ing] is not ideal mid-sea­son,” Ross said.

“Any dis­rup­tion dur­ing the sea­son is chal­leng­ing.

“I’m lucky that I’ve got Pruds, a very good goal­keep­ing coach and very well re­spected. “He’s also some­one who worked at Hartle­pool United while I was there. “He was one of the first peo­ple I spoke to when I came to the train­ing ground af­ter tak­ing the job. I knew him well and got on well with him. “So I’m very for­tu­nate in that sense, the work he has done with the goal­keep­ers this week has been fairly seam­less.

“That takes a lit­tle bit of pres­sure off hav­ing to do some­thing knee jerk.

“But I’d still hope to try and fill the po­si­tion as soon as pos­si­ble.

“The blend of the staff we’ve had this sea­son has been good so I need to make sure we get that right again.”

Prud­hoe, who had a spell at Sun­der­land as a player, played a key part in the rise of Eng­land star Jor­dan Pick­ford.

Pick­ford him­self praised his work dur­ing Eng­land’s run to the World Cup semi­fi­nals last sum­mer.

“I’d like to say I’ve had many coaches through­out my ca­reer but I al­ways go back to Mark Prud­hoe. He’s my main one.

“At Sun­der­land he had me since I was eight years-old when I was daft as a brush and I still ring him now.

“I’ll ring him af­ter this game [a quar­ter-fi­nal win over Swe­den] and ask him what he thinks. He’ll tell me if I’ve been good or bad.”

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