JACK ROSS insists he is capable of handling the criticism that was hurled in his direction during Sunderland’s 1-1 draw at Bolton Wanderers – but the Black Cats boss’ position is coming under mounting pressure in the wake of side’s failure to beat the League One basement boys.

Ross was criticised by his own supporters before Aiden McGeady’s stoppage-time penalty salvaged a point, with a large section of the 4,037-strong travelling support expressing their frustration at his decision to take off Chris Maguire midway through the second half and joining in with chants from the Bolton support suggesting the Scot was going to be “sacked in the morning”.

The Sunderland boss opted not to go over to Sunderland’s travelling fans in the wake of the final whistle, and while Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven have acknowledged the need for stability with a takeover involving the US-based investment group, MSD Partners, still in the offing, Ross’ position as manager is now the subject of considerable debate.

Sunderland travel to Sheffield United in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, before hosting MK Dons at the Stadium of Light this weekend, and with the current fractious atmosphere unlikely to abate quickly, Ross is ready to take whatever comes his way.

“If there’s any criticism, give it to me,” said the Sunderland boss. “That’s my job. You make decisions based on how you think players are performing at the time. We then find an equaliser. So, whether it justifies it (the substitution) or not, I don’t know. It’s my job to make those decisions. It’s fine - criticism is no problem.

“That’s football isn’t it? Listen, I’m a 43-year-old man. I’ve been through a lot in life to earn the right to work. I’ve dealt with things in family life. Trust me, it’s not a flippant remark because like every human being, criticism is not nice for any person, irrespective of what walk of life they’re in. But the strength of character to deal with it is a different thing.”

As well as defending his decision to take off Maguire, Ross also justified the half-time move that resulted in youngster Denver Hume being replaced at the break for the second time this season.

“When I came into the club, he was an academy player who’d played very little first-team football,” he said. “He’s then made that progression to be a first-team player.

“He’s had good games and slightly less good games, but he’ll have that as a young player. He’s got a lot to learn and improve on, but he’s also contributed in his appearances this season and last.”