JACK ROSS is happy to revel in Sunderland’s never-to-be forgotten FA Cup final win from 1973 ahead of this afternoon’s second-round tie with Walsall – because it makes him feel young.

Ross is the first Sunderland boss to have been born after Bob Stokoe’s side lifted the FA Cup at Wembley, with all of the club’s previous managers having at least been alive when Ian Porterfield’s strike downed the mighty Leeds United.

It is more than 45 years ago now, but the club’s against-the-odds triumph remains one of the FA Cup’s most memorable and cherished moments, and while some might claim it is counter-productive to live in the past, Ross insists it is important to celebrate such a momentous achievement.

“For once, it makes me feel really young,” joked the Sunderland boss. “But in all seriousness, 1973 is a very important year in this club’s history and it is still mentioned and rightly so. When a club achieves any major silverware, it should always be revered.

“The incentive for anyone who finds themselves in my job is to try to replicate what some of my predecessors have done in the past, becoming club legends.

“I’ve been here long enough to realise how highly those who were involved in that famous win are thought of. It is one of the reasons we will treat this competition with so much respect. We are duty-bound to do that because of the history.”

Some managers opt to sever their club’s links to the past, removing pictures of previous triumphs and preventing former players from visiting the ground.

Ross takes the opposite approach, preferring instead to revel in former successes and shower praise on his predecessors who achieved meaningful success during their time on Wearside.

Jimmy Montgomery continues to play a prominent role at the modern-day Sunderland in his position as a club ambassador, and Ross insists he would always welcome a visit from one of the 1973 Cup winners.

When he was manager at St Mirren, he would regularly refer back to the club’s previous achievements, and while he hopes to create some history of his own during his time at the Stadium of Light, he is more than happy to shine a spotlight on the past.

“At my previous club, the first images you see when you enter the foyer of the ground are of the 1987 (Scottish FA) Cup-winning squad and the 2013 League Cup win. I believe as a manager you should always embrace the club’s history, not be weighed down by it.

“What this club has done in the past should never be forgotten. It is not a burden. This job carries large expectations simply because of the size of the club and its fan base. If anything, photographs and footage of the past should remind people what they are part of here.”

To that end, Ross wants to continue his side’s current FA Cup run to at least the third round, thereby avoiding the potential to match a statistical quirk from Sunderland’s record books.

On the only other occasion the club played in the third tier, they were knocked out of the FA Cup at the second-round stage to Scunthorpe United. As a result, they did not play in the competition from January onwards, and because they won promotion back to what was then the Second Division the following May, they did not play any FA Cup matches the following autumn either. As a result, Sunderland did not play a single FA Cup tie in the whole of 1988.

“I want to emulate that last side that won the title at this level, but as for the Cup, I want to go as far as I can,” said Ross. “For a few reasons. Firstly, how I view the competition, and I think the playing squad do as well. And we want to continue this momentum of winning games.”