Ross not con­cerned about prospect of League Tro­phy derby

The Chronicle - - Safc -

JACK Ross says Sun­der­land will deal with what­ever Satur­day’s Foot­ball League Tro­phy draw throws up even if it is a slightly odd no-win derby.

The Black Cats and lo­cal ri­vals New­cas­tle United are both through to the last 16, which is split equally into north and south sec­tions.

Yet whereas League One Sun­der­land are rep­re­sented by their first team, the Premier League Magpies are an un­der-21 side.

Ross says it will bring a “dif­fer­ent dy­namic” if the teams do meet - but is not about to dwell on it.

He ad­mit­ted: “It would be an un­usual set of cir­cum­stances.

“I would not want to labour on it too much but we have seen that with an­other derby in the week (Port Vale v Stoke City Un­der-21s).

“There is a dif­fer­ent dy­namic when you have a derby and it is one first team and one un­der-21 side.

“It is not ideal, I think ev­ery­one would ap­pre­ci­ate that at any derby through­out the coun­try.

“How­ever, is it what it is. What­ever comes out of the draw for us we will deal with that chal­lenge.

“Tak­ing com­pletely out of it that it could be New­cas­tle in a derby, I don’t think any se­nior team en­joys play­ing an un­der-21 side if I am hon­est.

“I have had it in Scot­land with colt teams which are now al­lowed in the Chal­lenge Cup, they are no-win matches for the first team. Not just be­cause of the derby, I would just prefer it to be against an­other se­nior team. I just found those games more en­joy­able.”

The Tro­phy used to be re­stricted to teams in the bot­tom two di­vi­sions but for the last two sea­sons the coun­try’s top de­vel­op­ment sides have been in­vited.

Sun­der­land are un­beaten in their last nine first-team meet­ings against New­cas­tle, a run stretch­ing back to 2011.

The Black Cats are also still in­volved in the FA Cup and the re­ward for the win­ner of Tues­day’s re­play against Wal­sall will be a thir­dround trip to Cham­pi­onship side Bolton Wan­der­ers. Ross would have pre­ferred to be at the Sta­dium of Light.

He ex­plained: “Not just be­cause our record is good but be­cause of the num­ber of games we have and the lo­gis­tics in­volved when­ever we travel.

“It is a dif­fi­cult match if we get through but one we would en­joy the chal­lenge of.”

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