Ross not concerned about prospect of League Trophy derby
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.”