Sunderland will be without 14 first team players for the EFL Trophy game with Carlisle United this evening.
The Black Cats are in the grip of an injury crisis, with fewer first team squad members available than on the injury table or otherwise engaged.
Firstly, international call ups have hit his side hard. Ross will be without Jon McLaughlin, Bryan Oviedo, Tom Flanagan and Bali Mumba who are all off on international duty.
Max Power is once again suspended following his red card on Saturday while Josh Maja, Jerome Sinclair and Lee Cattermole have all been playing with slight knocks and can’t be risked.
Glenn Loovens, Donald Love, Charlie Wyke, Duncan Watmore, Lynden Gooch and Denver Hume all remain out through injury.
“We are so stretched personnel-wise,” Ross told their official site. “There are injuries to players who haven’t played much this season, so we are limited. Someone like Bali (Mumba) would’ve played tomorrow but he is away with England so there will be a mix of reasons why players are unavailable.”
“In terms of first-team players we only have 10/11 available. Some of the stronger under-23 players like Elliot Embleton and Luke Molyneux are out on loan at the minute. ”
It’s a competition in which they’ve only ever had to put the Under 21 side out, so for the first team to be attached to it is a shock to Sunderland.
They’ll muster a team, they’ve got plenty of exciting young players and have called up six or seven from their current Under 23 squad to play. Carlisle will likely play a half-reserve side too, meaning that Ross will probably still oversee a win.