Ross on Doidge
Jack Ross has had a successful start to his managerial career at Hibernian, winning his first two games in charge.
Ex-Forest Green Rovers and Bolton Wanderers striker Christian Doidge played a large part in those two wins, scoring in both games. Those two goals followed a hat-trick in the game prior to Ross taking over and the former Sunderland manager revealed that he was well aware of the striker before he followed him to Easter Road.
Ross said that he was aware of all players outside of the Premier League but, at Sunderland, it was the goalscorers outside the Championship that would be flagged up for him, with Doidge fitting that profile:
First of all, any player who is scoring prolifically in any of the three leagues outside the Premiership you are aware of, and, for me, probably outside the Championship were the ones that would be flagged up. He got his move to Bolton then back to Forest Green.
I was aware of him and was interested to see how he would do when I saw he was coming here in the summer. I have been impressed by him. He’s probably a bit different to what I thought – in a good way.
There’s more to his game than people imagine.
Look back at [Robert] Lewandowski before he went to [Borussia] Dortmund and why they recruited him, if you look at his record through the lower leagues in Poland up to top league, he always scored goals. The fact Christian is scoring goals gives me encouragement he’ll continue to do that.
Déjà vu for Bridcutt
Bolton Wanderers lost 7-1 at the Wham Stadium last Saturday, as Accrington Stanley ran riot against the team stranded at the bottom of the League One table.
Former Sunderland midfielder Liam Bridcutt started that game for Bolton and the 30-year-old says that heavy defeat brought back bad memories of a similar experience while playing under Gus Poyet.
Bridcutt was a half-time substitute for Sunderland in the 8-0 defeat away to Southampton during the 2014-15 season and revealed that it is the bad games, like those two heavy losses, that stick with him:
The bad games always stick with me, everyone always says you’ve had good games or been consistent but they aren’t the ones that stay with you.
I remember a day like that at Southampton with Sunderland. That was as near as I have been, I think.
From now until the end of the season we can’t think about putting in another performance like that. We need to get back to winning ways and being solid, defending right, getting the basics right.
Mannone on toughest pre-season of his career
Coming off the back of an extremely successful loan spell with Minnesota United, where he was voted MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, Vito Mannone sat down with Italian website CalcioMercato to discuss his career.
The former Sunderland goalkeeper, who is still on the books of Reading, was asked about his time working under Paolo Di Canio.
Mannone talked about the most difficult pre-season he has ever experienced, with the goalkeeper keen to tell his team-mates that their experience during that summer was not typical of Italy:
It was the toughest pre-season in my career. I wake up at 6, three training sessions a day and we only had to eat what he told us. He made us do the retreat in a horrible place near Lake Garda, every day I told my companions that Italy was not that. Di Canio was a sergeant, but he lasted only five games.
The 31-year-old also discussed Sunderland’s League Cup run during the 2013-14 season, describing the experience as a dream:
It was one of the most beautiful games of my career. I saved those penalties in the goal where Dida had won the Champions League. A couple after taking out Chelsea in the quarter-finals and Man Utd in the semifinals was a dream.