A POSITVE outlook around Sunderland is as welcome as it is unusual.

Years of misery, peppered with only the joy of escaping relegation, are gradually being replaced.

Winning football, a competitive team, a positive outlook; it might be League One but Sunderland is a club being turned around.

Jack Ross has revamped the squad, taking the club to third in League One before they take on Plymouth at Home Park today, backed by a 1,200 strong away support for the 804-mile round trip.

Success at St Mirren last season is being replicated on Wearside by Ross.

There’s no sign of complacency in his squad yet, equally no long faces from players who aren’t in the team.

Ross admitted: “I haven’t really ever sensed any despondency or negativity or lack of belief amongst them (the squad) but I do think the belief is growing and that appetite for the feeling of winning games is growing as well. I know you might think that’s an easy one for players to have all the time but some of them had maybe forgotten what it was like to have that feeling because of the different circumstances in the past.

“It’s the best feeling in the game and they’ve had that a lot recently. Once it becomes a habit you need more of it. It really makes you want to go out there and get it. They’re in a good place at the moment and long may that continue.

“It was an important aspect of what I was trying to do when I first came in. You can effect a change in culture around the club and there are so many different facets to that. It was something we spoke about in pre-season a lot when results were reasonably positive in pre-season, taking away the first result at Darlington.

“When we started to build a little bit of momentum in pre-season that message was delivered consistently as well. We wanted them to develop a taste for winning games even in pre-season matches.

“They listened and they took it on board but you need that to happen for them to get it. Fortunately in the first third of the season they’ve had that, which should mean over the remaining two thirds that lie ahead they want more of it.’’

Glenn Loovens was part of the squad that flew to the south west yesterday. The centre-half is available again after a hamstring problem.

The Pilgrims have improved of late and Ross will come up against a fellow Scot in Plymouth boss Derek Adams.

“It’s an unpredictable league and Plymouth have won their last two games so I would think they would played the same team in the same way, that’s what I would do. But there’s challenges to face each week, and this is a difficult one because of the travelling,’’ he reflected.

“I know Derek from his days in Scotland, someone in the same industry than someone who I am close to. He’s had a bit of criticism in recent times, but he’s done a terrific job over a period of time.’’

He added: “This division is intriguing, form and position of opponents can change quickly. Maybe six weeks ago people would say we haven’t played teams in the top half – look now and we have played a lot of them.

“Some of those teams, for example Coventry, were bottom half and have been on a run to take them top half and they are looked at in a different way now.

“Plymouth have had a difficult season, but results of late have been positive. They are open and expansive and I feel those teams have suited us better.’’