Ross’ quiet word with McLeish boosts Cats

Sunderland Echo - - Sport -

Jack Ross has re­vealed how a con­ver­sa­tion with Scot­land man­agerAlexMcLeish­helped pro­vide his Sun­der­land squad with a ma­jor boost.

The Black Cats looked set to be with­out first choice stop­per Jon McLaugh­lin for the visit of Wy­combe Wan­der­ers next week­end, with the sum­mer sign­ing handed a call-up to the Scot­land squad for their up­com­ing UEFA Na­tions League fix­tures.

McLeish’s side face Al­ba­nia and Israel with McLaugh­lin ex­pected to be third choice be­hind Craig Gordon and Al­lan McGre­gor.

With that in mind, the Sun­der­land ace with­drew from the squad and was re­placed by Kil- marnock’s Jamie MacDon­ald - mean­ing he can fea­ture against the Chair­boys next week­end.

And Ross re­vealed how an hon­est dis­cus­sion with his com­pa­triot proved the key to al­low­ing the stop­per to re­turn to club duty. “I spoke to Alex [McLeish] yesterday and I’d had a chat to Jon pre­vi­ously to that,” said Ross, speak­ing ahead of the trip to Port Vale.

“I was very clear to Alex that I would never stand in the way of any of my play­ers be­ing in­volved in their in­ter­na­tional team, but we’re in a unique sit­u­a­tion where we have in­ter­na­tional play­ers but can’t get games au­to­mat­i­cally called off for be­ing in the Premier League or Cham­pi­onship.

“That is a chal­lenge for in­ter­na­tional man­agers as well, be­cause they’re ob­vi­ously se­lect­ing their squads on who they would like avail­able. So I had a chat with Alex and ex­plained that our game with Wy­combe would be go­ing ahead and that Jon was ob­vi­ously third choice in that squad.

“Be­tween us, we agreed that it would be good for Jon to play in that fixture for us, so I’m very grate­ful to Alex for how help­ful he was and how un­der­stand­ing he was of the po­si­tion we were in, and that it wasn’t down to a lack of de­sire from Jon to be in­volved.

“It’s a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion when your club side con­tin­ues to play games in that pe­riod has well.” It leaves Tom Flana­gan and Bali Mumba as the only first team play­ers handed in­ter­na­tional callups.

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