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Roker Roundup: Jack Ross speaks out on Sunderland link to Celtic pair Lewis Morgan & Jack Hendry

Sunderland manager Jack Ross has spoken out on links made in the press to Celtic pair Jack Hendry and Lewis Morgan.

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Ross on transfers and his future

Sunderland have been linked with moves for Celtic pair Lewis Morgan and Jack Hendry during this transfer window, with Brendan Rodgers suggesting both may head out on loan before the window closes.

Neither of those players will be joining Sunderland though, as Jack Ross revealed in an interview with superscoreboard of Clyde 1 that he have been no discussions between the clubs, even if he would like to work with Morgan again at some point:

There has been no communication with Brendan, he’s somebody that obviously I know well and he was very supportive of me when I was managing in Scotland.

There’s been no communication between the clubs.

Naturally with Lewis, obviously that link is easier to make because I’ve worked with him. He’s a young man that I forged a really close relationship with and he’s someone that I am desperate to keep progressing his career.

There may come a time in the future where I would love to work with a player of his ilk again and his quality but certainly for the moment, those two players aren’t ones that we have any communication with.

Ross was also asked what his ultimate aim is in football and although he admitted that he will always want to manage Scotland, his focus is on the job he loves at Sunderland:

Now for me to do this job properly is one thing and I think I do that. To be successful at it I need to get the club back to the Premiership.

Beyond that, I don’t know. I love this job and I love working at this club, I would happily be here for years. Football’s not like that but it’s just such a good fit and there are not many bigger.

I suppose ultimately and I have said this before that I would love to manage my country at some point. I always wanted to play for Scotland when I played football and I never got to do it. I am still patriotic, I am still somebody that would love to see us back in national finals.

That opportunity would only ever become a mild possibility should I be successful in club football and right now that’s the focus but very quickly [to answer the question], it’s just to be here as long as I can at the moment because I enjoy the job so much.

You can watch the full Clyde 1 interview with Ross below, where he also discusses - amongst other things - the Netflix series and Sunderland’s Boxing Day crowd against Bradford City.

Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet League One Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images

Duo set for debuts

Controversial ex-Sunderland pair Papy Djilobodji and Didier Ndong have been on an extensive fitness regime since they signed for Ligue 1 strugglers Guingamp due to their lack of fitness and football this season.

Those extra training efforts seem to have paid off with the duo named in the French club’s squad for the first time, as they look forward to hosting Saint-Etienne at the Stade de Roudourou.

According to iSport, Ndong received his International Transfer Certificate recently and is now fully eligible to feature for the club.

Should Djilobodji and Ndong make their Guingamp debuts, they will come up against another former Sunderland duo in Yann M’Vila and Wahbi Khazri.

Getty Images

Breen discusses McCarthy’s budget struggles

When Sunderland got promoted under Mick McCarthy in 2005, the former and current Irish international manager was only given a budget of £3m to keep the club in the Premier League.

That pitiful amount was obviously not enough as the club were relegated with just 15 points but Gary Breen says the feel-good factor of promotion quickly went out of the window due to that budget, an amount that Jose Mourinho couldn’t help but laughing out when the Portuguese manager was told before a game:

My experience of [Sunderland] was a great time, coupled with a really bad time, Mick McCarthy overachieved in terms of getting us back in the Premier League and then was hung out to dry.

We had £3 million to spend on players, and that included their wages.

I remember a story from when we played Chelsea early on in that season.

Mick McCarthy was telling that [he only had £3 million] to Jose Mourinho, and he started bursting out laughing.

He said it was ridiculous.

All the feel-good factor that came as a result of winning the Championship as we did went out the window.

West Bromwich Albion v Sunderland Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Cisse reveals Keane’s half-time team talk

Back in 2008, Sunderland narrowly squeaked past Northampton Town on penalties in the League Cup after a 2-2 draw at the Stadium of Light, despite the League Two away side being 2-0 up with nine minutes to go.

Two Anthony Stokes goals levelled matters before Roy Keane’s side won 4-3 on penalties but Djibril Cisse - who wasn’t involved that day - has revealed the Irishman’s unusual half-time team talk that inspired victory:

I loved the guy because there was no bullsh*t with him, he didn’t take shit from no-one.

I saw some funny situations with him. I remember one half-time speech. It was a cup game which I wasn’t involved in.

We were losing at half-time. It was a third division team and we were supposed to win easily.

I go down to the changing room and we’re all waiting. He came in last and didn’t talk for 30 seconds, just watching people. He calls his assistant to say ‘can you bring me the ball’.

The assistant put the ball on the floor. He looked at everybody then put a ninja kick on the ball, like a Bruce Lee kick.

He said ’You’re s***, you’re a disgrace, you don’t deserve to be at this club’.

I was just like ‘wow this guy’s crazy’.

It did work in the end though, we ended up winning on penalties at the end.

Tottenham Hotspur v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

Darlington hope to keep Sunderland youngster

Although Andrew Nelson’s loan deal with Darlington expired earlier this week, Sunderland youngster Williams Kokolo remains at the club on a youth loan.

Darlington manager Tommy Wright is hoping to keep the 18-year-old at the club until the end of the season:

We’re in discussions with Barnsley regarding Romal and Will as we want to extend their stays, and we’ve had conversations with other clubs as we want to be informed of what players will be available.

Every club, especially at Premier League level, is seeing what clubs and what level of clubs are coming in for their players before they make a decision on where they send them out on loan.

That’s how it’s going to be for the next week or so before things start to happen again.

I do think we’ll finish the season with five loan players.

We’ve told Sunderland that we want to keep Williams and we’ve told Barnsley that we want to keep those two. Hopefully we can and those decisions are now with their parent their clubs.

Nelson is out of contract at the end of the season and Wright said that if the young striker’s face doesn’t fit, then he needs to go and play somewhere else:

We don’t know the Sunderland’s manager’s opinion of Neller is, but if your face doesn’t fit then you’ve got to go and seek football elsewhere.

Neller will have a career in the game beyond Sunderland. His next step is getting the right loan or a permanent move and build on what he achieved with us.

In terms of loans, you don’t get much better than what he did with us - six goals and two assists in five and a half games.