Jack Ross delighted with Sunderland’s character following Accrington victory
Jack Ross hailed Sunderland’s character after bouncing back from their Checkatrade Trophy final defeat with a confident 3-0 victory at Accrington.
It went some way to consoling Ross, whose side lost the Wembley showpiece against Portsmouth on penalties just three days ago.
The Scot is also hoping star forward Aiden McGeady will be back for their Championship push after 14-goal winger came off with a knock at half-time.
McGeady scored the opening goal in the fourth minute against struggling Stanley after he cut inside, made space and fired home from 20 yards.
Sunderland dominated the first half, hitting the woodwork through Lynden Gooch before they scored three minutes into first-half stoppage time when Jon McLaughlin’s long kick found Will Grigg and he fired home an important second.
Stanley, two points off the bottom four, came out all guns blazing in the second half but, on a quick breakaway, Lewis Morgan fed substitute Kazaiah Sterling after 79 minutes and the Tottenham loanee smashed home the third.
‘This was a good test of character for us,’ said Ross.
‘I think people didn’t know what to expect coming so close to the cup final but I had no doubts about the character but we needed a performance to match it.
Thankfully we got it.
‘This is a difficult venue to come to, the pitch is bobbly but there were some terrific performances and a number of pleasing aspects of the game.
‘I gave some players a chance who hadn’t had a lot of game-time and they were bang on which was pleasing.
‘Aiden McGeady’s season gets better and better but he picked up a knock and so we thought it was better to take him off at half-time, but hopefully he will be fit for Saturday.
‘He has run through a couple of knocks this season and he is a hugely influential player so it was a precaution to take him off.
‘We have eight more games ahead and we need the same type of performances, it’s quick turnaround.
It’s not ideal having so many games in a short space of time but we have the belief and determination in the squad.
‘ John Coleman’s side are looking over their shoulder, sitting just two points above the relegation zone after three straight defeats.
‘They are a good side and they came to us on the back of an energy-zapping game at Wembley but then we gave them a shot of adrenaline straight away,’ Coleman said.
‘You can’t give strikers like Aiden McGeady time and space on the ball but we did and we were chasing the game after four minutes.
‘They were a handful for the next 20 minutes but we managed to stay in the game and then the game hinged on the second goal.
‘If we go in 1-0 at half-time, it’s a different story but it was poor defensively from us.
If you defend like that, you will get punished and we did.
‘We then chased the game, didn’t take our chances and the third goal was game over.
‘We have got to keep fighting, keep our heads up and iron a few things out before we go to AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.’