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Sunderland manager Jack Ross: Wembley bound? I'd rather be on holiday

Jack Ross is hoping to guide Sunderland back to the Sky Bet Championship
Jack Ross is hoping to guide Sunderland back to the Sky Bet Championship

Sunderland manager Jack Ross admits he would rather be relaxing on holiday than preparing for another trip to Wembley.

The Black Cats remain on course for an immediate return to the Sky Bet Championship after scraping past Portsmouth to reach the League One play-off final.

After a goalless draw at Fratton Park on Wednesday, Chris Maguire's first-leg strike was sufficient to secure a 1-0 aggregate win.

Ross' side, who lost the Checkatrade Trophy final to Pompey at Wembley at the end of March, blew automatic promotion after finishing the season with one win from their last seven games.

The former St Mirren boss is determined to make up for that disappointment when Sunderland face Charlton or Doncaster on May 26.

"I didn't come to England to manage in League One for more than one season. I want to be in the Championship and I want to take the club there," said Ross.

"When we missed out on automatic, we knew we had another opportunity to do it.

Celebrations for Sunderland at Portsmouth after reaching the Sky Bet League One play-off final
Celebrations for Sunderland at Portsmouth after reaching the Sky Bet League One play-off final

"People have kept telling me it (the play-offs) is the best way to do it. I don't know if I necessarily agree with them.

"I'd like to be on holidays right now and have it secured but I understand what they mean by it because of the tension and excitement around these games.

"We're back at Wembley in front of a big crowd, so looking forward to it when it comes around."

The Blacks Cats will discover their opponents on Friday evening when Charlton attempt to build on their 2-1 aggregate lead at home to Doncaster.

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett wants to mount another promotion challenge next season and hopes to keep hold of star defender Matt Clarke and top scorer Jamal Lowe during the summer.

Action from Portsmouth v Sunderland in the Sky Bet EFL play-offs
Action from Portsmouth v Sunderland in the Sky Bet EFL play-offs

"It's very rare that any team is the same from the end of one season to the start of the next," said Jackett.

"For us, we'll be wanting to build a squad that can go and compete again at the top end of this league

"If bids come in for any of our players, we'll deal with it then. None have yet.

"Will they come in? I don't know.

"You don't sell players, other teams buy them. If other teams are circling and intending to bid then we'll find out shortly.

"Nobody has told me that they are necessarily coming. There's been a lot of speculation and, yes, they (Clarke and Lowe) are good players and they've had very good seasons."


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Most Read Football

Get all the latest football gossip from the day's back pages
1

Paper Talk: Wolves close on Marega

Three former players to decide Manchester United transfer targets - and a £30m striker heading to Wolves. Plenty more too in a bumper Thursday edition.

Get all the latest football gossip from the day's back pages2

Paper Talk: £105m Man United move

Man United willing to meet Joao Felix's £105m release clause, while Liverpool are eyeing a Bournemouth star, according to the back pages.

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