Sunderand boss Jack Ross has revealed he is pleased with the strength in depth he has in his squad, but has warned the players he will be ruthless when it comes to picking the team.
The Black Cats have enjoyed a decent start to life in League One, with Ross’ men currently fourth in the table.
However, they’ve had their first little wobble in recent weeks, with the side not winning in three, whilst they suffered their first league defeat in a poor display at Burton last time out.
And, with a big squad that has a lot of players returning to fitness, excluding the luckless Charlie Wyke, the former St. Mirren boss has told his side that they need to maintain a high standard to stay in the team.
“We’re getting closer to the point where players have a real understanding that they have to play well to keep their place in the team,” he said to the Sunderland Echo.
“I don’t like using it as fear for motivating players to do well but I think they can see it themselves, they’re not silly. They can see that the depth is there.”
Dylan McGeouch, Tom Flanagan and Aiden McGeady are just some of the senior players who could be pushing for starts after lay-offs against Rochdale this weekend.
There’s no doubt that Ross has a big squad to choose from and over a demanding League One season they will all have a role to play.
Yet, that competition should also ensure standards don’t drop. Every player knows they are potentially vulnerable to losing their place.
That’s exactly how it should be and it’s down to those who get the start against Rochdale to ensure they remain in the team with a positive display.
Thoughts, Sunderland fans? Let us know in the comments below.