Jack Ross admits he was torn three ways before choosing to be Sunderland’s new manager ahead of Ipswich Town, or remaining with St Mirren.
He had been relishing the prospect of leading the Buddies on their return to the Scottish Premiership.
But he also had the choice between joining Ipswich in the Championship or Sunderland dropping to League One.
“It was the sheer potential of this job that was really attractive,” the Black Cats manager told BBC Scotland.
- Potter appointed Sunderland first-team coach
- Sunderland sign Ozturk after Boluspor exit
“To drop to League One as opposed to testing myself in the Championship was something I had to consider.
“But there is probably no glass ceiling in this job in terms of where it can possibly go in the future.”
Ross, who had previously left part-time Alloa Athletic after taking them to second place in Scotland’s League One, had taken over at St Mirren when they were bottom of Scotland’s second tier.
And, within 18 months, he had led them to safety from relegation then, the following season, to the title and promotion.
“It was a really difficult decision for me to leave St Mirren because I was really happy in the job and I was really excited about the challenge of managing them in the Scottish Premiership,” he said.
“It wasn’t as straightforward and simple as some people might have thought to leave.
“There was a huge pull for me to stay at the club and try to finish the job that I started.”
Ross thinks that, despite Sunderland dwarfing the Paisley club in terms of finances, the parallels between the fortunes of the two clubs played a part in his appointment.
“I think having shown I could take on difficult jobs and turn them round to a degree maybe made me more of an option for them,” he said.
Ross is coming to terms with taking over at a club he points out were playing Premier League fixtures less than two years ago.
“I knew it was a big club, but now that I’ve been down for a month I didn’t appreciate how big in terms of the stadium, support, training ground, everything,” he said.
“The club in terms of what it has at its disposal is huge.”
Jack is targeting a quick return to the Championship for a club that has suffered successive relegations.
“The owners are very good and they are very understanding of the huge raft of changes that are going on at the club and the challenges I will face because of that,” he said.
“They haven’t stipulated that as a necessity, but I never shied away from my ambition with St Mirren and my ambition this season is to get promoted back to the Championship and start building and progressing from there.”
Jack has already used his Scottish connections by signing former Hearts central defender Alim Ozturk from Boluspor and former Clyde team-mate John Potter from Dunfermline Athletic as first-team coach.
He has also been linked with interest in taking former St Mirren winger Lewis Morgan from Celtic on loan.
“It’s natural that you will lean towards players that you know, but I’m also trying to identify those who have experience of this league,” Jack said.
“There will be ones in Scotland that fit the bill in terms of having the quality but not having experience of that league.
“We are still a bit uncertain about what holes we’ll have in the squad depending on who leaves the club.”
Jack will have to operate with a Premier League wage bill that is being slashed for life in the third tier.
“I’ve never been that bothered with budgets,” he insisted. “I’ve seen my task in hand to try to get the best players I can with the resources and get the best out of them on the training pitch and put them together as a team.
“I don’t even know my budget if I’m entirely honest. It will be something that will change and evolve depending on how the squad is trimmed.
“I know that I’m with a club that can compete healthily in that league and for a manager that gives you comfort as well.”
- ^ choosing to be (www.bbc.co.uk)
- ^ Potter appointed Sunderland first-team coach (www.bbc.co.uk)
- ^ Sunderland sign Ozturk after Boluspor exit (www.bbc.co.uk)