Respite will be key for Sunderland ahead of Portsmouth promotion clashÂ
Jack Ross feels Sunderland's respite period will be key ahead of his side's trip toÂ Pompey.
And the boss is relishing the Black Cats' clash against their promotion rivalsÂ at Fratton Park.Â
Kenny Jackett's table-toppers go into Saturday's match fiveÂ points aboveÂ third-placed Sunderland.
Ross' troops have two games in hand on Pompey, though, and the result could have ramifications on which club reaches the Championship next season.
Neither side have a midweek fixtureÂ to negotiate in the build up, meaning both have ample time to prepare.Â
Ross believes that will be crucial to the Black Cats' planning '“Â especially with a 338-mile journey to also factor in.Â
And while Sunderland are used to playing in front of a packed Stadium of Light, the manager admits it'll be unusual for his troops toÂ perform at a sold-out Fratton Park.Â
Ross told the Sunderland Echo:Â '˜It's good for everybody '“ players, staff '“ to have a wee breather for a couple of days and it's a great game for us.
'˜It's unusual for us to go to such a big stadium and it be a full house.
'˜It will be good. I'm excited about it and the players will be as well but we'll enjoy the brief respite.'
Sunderland could be without Scotland international Jon McLaughlin for their visit to PO4.Â
Yet Ross hasÂ every confidence in second-choice keeper Robbin Ruiter if he's requiredÂ to play at Pompey.Â Â