Sunderland’s players must keep their feet firmly on the throttle this weekend at Rochdale, according to manager Jack Ross.
- Match preview: Rochdale v Sunderland
- Team news: McGeady fitness update
- Watch: Ross' Rochdale preview
A commanding 3-0 win at Accrington Stanley banished questions of the Black Cats’ resolve after their penalty pain in the Checkatrade Trophy last Sunday.
But the Scot is acutely aware that you are only as good as your next result, and with a trip to face relegation-threatened Rochdale at Spotland this Saturday, he’s determined to hammer home the message that now isn’t the time for complacency.
Just three points behind second-place Barnsley in the hunt for automatic promotion to the Championship, Ross knows the significance of keeping cool and taking maximum points with the games starting to run out.
“The players have had a real determination all season to win promotion and they have suffered real disappointment and they don’t want that again,” he said.
“There is a lot of parallels with Wednesday evening because of where the opposition find themselves and the ground we are going to.
“Wednesday was a bit different because we had been to that ground before but this is a new ground to visit and when you add in the fact they have appointed Brian (Barry-Murphy) as their new manager that changes the dynamics as well.
“The reality is that we are playing a team who has as much to play for as us at this stage of the season.
“We need to provide a very similar performance to the one we provided on Wednesday evening.”
“I have sensed over the course of the season that there hasn't been a great deal of difference in quality across the whole league,” he continued.
“We have said it often enough that there is no team that have seemed weaker than anybody else so maybe that is reflected in the team at the moment.
“As the season goes on the teams who are in danger will lessen.”