JACK ROSS insists that takeover talk surrounding Sunderland will not detract him from striving to steer Championship football back to the Stadium of Light this week.

The Black Cats are preparing for tomorrow night’s finely poised play-off semi-final second leg with Portsmouth knowing they already hold a slender one-goal advantage.

Sunderland are looking to edge beyond Pompey to reach Wembley where it looks like they would face Charlton for the right to join Luton and Barnsley in the second tier next season.

It has emerged in recent days that Sunderland owner Stewart Donald is looking for investment or a partial sale of the club, with the size of the offers expected to peak at around the £70m mark if promotion can be delivered.

Regardless of what division Sunderland are in next season, though, Donald is looking to do things right by the club and even if there is a partial sale he would hope to stay involved to keep things moving forward.

But Ross, who admits he has heard certain things, does not want to lose focus on what the main aim or what his own future could hold on Wearside if a takeover is completed.

“I’ve had some conversations with them (the owner) but generally they’ll come if they’re instigated by them. I haven’t chased for any clarification,” said Ross, speaking at his pre-match press conference yesterday.

“I just work on the basis that if there’s anything important to tell me, they will. I’ve had a good relationship with Stewart from day one and that continues to be the case.

“Ultimately that side of the club is his business. Hopefully if there is anything important they need to tell me, I’ll find out.

“I’ve not heard anything that changes my role and how I go about it. Most of what I heard has been instigated by them rather than me.”

The latest takeover talk was followed yesterday by suggestions that Sunderland are lining up the man behind bringing Virgil van Dijk to Britain as the new director of football.

Reports north of the border yesterday claimed Sunderland are close to sealing a deal that sees John Park move to the North-East.

Park is also wanted back at Celtic where, between 2007 and 2016, he is credited with finding the likes of van Dijk, Victor Wanyama and Ki Sung-yueng.

It was suggested that Sunderland have beaten the Bhoys to securing the services of Park, even though Neil Lennon – who hopes to get the job full-time - wants him.

Park would replace former Black Cats director of football Lee Congerton after he left the Scottish champions this week to team up with Brendan Rodgers at Leicester City again.

But Ross knows nothing about the claims that Park is thought to be close to agreeing a five-year deal.

He said: “I work closely with Tony Coton (head of recruitment) here and he's had a difficult year health-wise but he's been brilliant with me and become a friend. As far as I'm concerned that continues to be the case.”

Sunderland’s plans for the summer, with or without Park’s involvement, will be determined by what happens on the takeover front and if promotion to the Championship can be achieved.

Playing at a higher level will have an impact on the budget for wages and transfers, so all Ross can focus on is ensuring his team finishes off the job of going up through the play-offs.

He hopes to have Aiden McGeady available for the trip to Fratton Park if it is deemed necessary, although his foot problem is still exactly the same as it has been in recent weeks so he is being treated carefully.

Duncan Watmore is also available for Thursday after his lay-off if Ross decides to risk him and there are no fresh injury concerns to consider.

Sunderland will be boosted to have defender Alim Ozturk available after he had his red card in the first leg overturned.  The former Hearts defender has enjoyed something of a late start to the campaign in recent weeks, having lost his place early in his Sunderland career after moving last summer.

But he looked set to miss the second leg through suspension after he was sent off on Saturday for a challenge on Gareth Evans when he was deemed to have been the last man by referee Andy Woolmer.

Sunderland’s appeal was successful on Monday. Ross said: “I knew what he was capable of as a player. I wouldn't have brought him here if I didn't think he was capable of coping with the demands, it's just been a long wait for him to get that extended opportunity.

“He's a good defender and his knowledge of the game is an attribute. When you watch him in training you can see he has a good understanding of the game as well.  “His range of distribution is good as well and now he's showing he's a good player. We hope he can maintain that vein of form for two more games.

“When I spoke to him I always had that feel that he was ready to go. He was desperate to take that opportunity, pestering me in a good way.

“It's a credit to him that he was able to cope with the disappointment and grasp that opportunity when it came along. He looks a lot sharper and fitter in this part of the season than when he first came.”

Ross knows that Chris Maguire, the match-winner on Saturday night, is desperate to start the return leg. Maguire has admitted this week that he believes he has done enough to face Portsmouth.

Ross said: “He's always a pest, full stop. In many different ways. There's been times in the season when he's played well, times when he's been injured, times when he's dipped.

 “Coming off the bench he's given us something extra and he'll continue to do what he does. I have a good relationship with Chris.

“It's just nice to have his quality back because the one thing he does possess is what he showed on Saturday – he's technically a very good player finding areas of space and he's not conventional in some of the way he plays.  “He has off-the-cuff moments of magic that have been scattered his career. To have that in the squad at this point is important because play-off games in particular can be decided by that one moment.”