Barton Would Love To Burst Mackem's Bubble

Jack Ross has hit back at Fleetwood boss Joey Barton's Sunderland claims - admitting he pays little attention to external views.

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The Black Cats travel to face Barton's side - who currently sit 12th in League One - tomorrow evening looking to keep their slim hopes of automatic promotion alive.

But the former Newcastle United midfielder, who took over the reigns in the North West at the start of the season, claimed that he would have already had the club promoted were he in charge.

And Ross has played down his astonishing claims, and insists he remains happy with the job he has done on Wearside.

"We'll never know, will we?," he joked, speaking ahead of the trip to Highbury.

"I don't really pay too much attention to other people's opinions. I've had a big job to do here, I've enjoyed it immensely, and I've always worked on the basis that if I can walk away from here each and every day knowing how hard I've worked at the job then I'm content.

"That's how I've been all season."

While the Black Cats' face an uphill battle to finish in the top two, they can still achieve promotion back to the Championship via the play-offs.

And Ross believes the club would be well-equipped for a return to the second tier - but that he would have to take stock of the requirements on the playing side before the new campaign began.

He said: "I think the club is good enough. I think that's a very obvious answer and people will always believe it.

"Some people will have a very different opinion on this - we probably have done better that what we may have thought in the summer given the upheaval and transition we had in the summer at the club.

"But we want to get promoted, we want to spend only one season in League One.

"If we did [get promoted], we would have to take a deep breath and take stock and assess what we then need to be competitive in the Championship."