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PRESS CONFERENCE: Sunderland boss Jack Ross gives important injury updates on Maja & Loovens

Sunderland manager Jack Ross had a brief meeting with the press this afternoon, giving important updates on the fitness of Josh Maja and Glenn Loovens as he prepares his squad ahead of Saturday’s game with Southend United.

Sunderland AFC

On the Doncaster win...

I think it just re-enforced the form the players have shown, not just recently, I think over the course of the whole season they’ve shown a great deal of character and resilience at different times and in different sets of circumstances.

I think it was another example of us dealing with the challenge of this league better. When you assess where the opposition where in the table, the season they’ve had to date and the results they’ve had to date in their own season, it maybe just highlights how good a victory it was. So, rather than it being extra significant for that, I just think it’s a continuation of the things the players have done well recently.

But, certainly when you go to a difficult venue against a team that’s in the playoff positions and you win, it just strengthens the belief that you can continue to produce good results.

Sunderland AFC

On momentum going into a home game...

We’ve had a number of away fixtures recently and difficult away fixtures in particular, back-to-back wins as well. So, it’s nice to be back in our own stadium. We’ve spoke often enough about making it a difficult place for teams to come to and obviously, we remain unbeaten there. We’d have all liked to have turned some of those draws into more wins, but by in large, the home performances have been good, the home results have been decent, and we want to continue that.

It’s not an easy league to put together a run of consecutive wins, not just for us as a club, but for any other club in the league, you can see that. So, having started that with three consecutive victories all away from home, you obviously want to continue that with a home game on Saturday.

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On keeping clean sheets...

The one thing is that we’re the only team in the league that hasn’t failed to score on any occasion, so because of that, we obviously play in a certain manner, so it means we always look like we want to try and create. So, that makes it even more challenging to keep clean sheets because of the way we ask players to play.

But, over the course of the season, I do think in general, our defensive play has been good. I don’t think we’ve been cut open on a huge amount of occasions. However, we probably weren’t defending set pieces well enough in the opening seven games, but the seven after, I think we have done.

As you mentioned, have looked more and more securely defensively and I’m pleased for Jon, the defensive unit and the rest of the team. In particular, the defensive unit that have got that tangible reward because clean sheets are something that they obviously pride themselves on and we want them to take that enjoyment from getting. We want to still increase the number of them that we have, but it’s been good that they’ve had that extra bonus from the two wins as well.

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

On keeping the mini unbeaten run going...

Yeah, it’s obviously the aim. The belief is strengthening within the group and also, I wouldn’t say it’s taken time to realise completely that we’re in League One, but I think to adjust to the challenges of it and fully adjust to having the target of winning this league has been the absolute for this season. So, I think the players are all there now.

So, now that we’ve put together this recent run and put together this record over the course of the season, we don’t want to give up these things lightly. But, we have another challenging fixture on Saturday. Just because we’re at home it doesn’t all of a sudden make the fixture easier than the ones we’ve faced in the last three games.

Southend are a team who are having a good season to date and their recent form is very good in terms of the last six games. So, we know it’s a tough match for us, each and every team that have came to the Stadium of Light has produced good performance as well. So, if they do that again on Saturday it means that we have to play well again to win the game. I said this previous to the Doncaster game as well, but we’ve got a squad that are in a good place at the moment and are excited about playing.

Sunderland AFC

On current injuries...

Glenn trained today for the first time, but obviously too early for him to be involved in terms of the game.

Josh should train tomorrow, unless he has any reaction to the work he’s done today, he’ll train tomorrow and will be back involved in the squad for Saturday.

Bryan’s suspension is over, so he’ll come back into the squad for Saturday as well.

Sunderland AFC

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