Sunderland had to be content with a draw in their promotion clash with Barnsley last night, which leaves them relying on others when it comes to an automatic promotion spot.
The Black Cats began the night four points behind the Tykes with a game in hand, knowing that a win would hand them the initiative in the race for a Championship spot.
Instead, they had to settle for a 0-0 draw in a game dominated by windy conditions and few clear-cut chances. It leaves Ross’ side on the edge on the automatic promotion race, hoping Barnsley slip up in the final nine matches.
The former St Mirren boss claimed the draw was a good result against a side in good form.
“We have come to a team that has not lost at home, like we haven’t, on a good run,” he was quoted by the Sunderland Echo.
“So it is not easy, far from it, it makes it even more challenging to gain automatic promotion but we have kept ourselves in it. We have a lot of points to play for. The game didn’t pan out as I imagined due to the weather conditions.”
Ross blamed the conditions for spoiling the game as a spectacle, remarking that both sides will have wanted to win but that the difficult environment made it unpredictable and ultimately, a stalemate.
“Barnsley would have wanted to win the game, we did too, a lot of the planning goes out the window in conditions like tonight, it was incredibly difficult.”
The Black Cats host Walsall this weekend, before a Wembley date with Portsmouth.
There will still be twists and turns, but it does look like advantage Barnsley as things stand. The game in hand is all well and good, but Sunderland have simply not been ruthless enough wince Josh Maja left.
Will Grigg hasn’t settled as quickly as they’d hoped he would and neither Charlie Wyke nor Kazaiah Sterling are getting consistent minutes on the grass to challenge for a spot.