Heading into the October international break, Lambert’s Tractor Boys are chugging away nicely at the top of the table. They are eight points clear of a Sunderland side who, thanks to a dismal 2-0 defeat to Lincoln City last time out, are hanging onto a play-off place by their fingernails right now.
And Ross has paid for an underwhelming run of results with his job. Owner Stewart Donald, with a heavy heart, announced that the former St Mirren boss had been sacked on Tuesday afternoon.
After leading Sunderland to the play-off final as recently as May, and with promotion a genuine possibility again this time around, Lambert has now spoken out in support of his fellow Scot and claims that Ross’s departure was a little premature.
"I don't think he has had long enough at all - he's started to rebuild a club which was going down and down," said the former Norwich City and Stoke boss. "It's probably unfair I think.
"I think people look at the division and what happened last year, where Sunderland are in stature as a club, and think they've got a divine right to be up there.
"I'm never really surprised by football because of the way the game is - people lose jobs even when things are going well."
Anyone who has watched Sunderland enough over the last few months, however, will tell you that progress had ground to a halt under a manager who impressed initially on Wearside.
The football was poor, the wins dried up and Ross never really managed to get the best out of a talented squad including proven League One strikers Will Grigg and Charlie Wyke. It feels like the right time for a fresh start and Lambert’s comments smack of a man who just isn’t looking at the bigger picture.
Ask any Sunderland fan if they expected to get promoted this season with Ross at the helm and the majority will give you a resounding ‘no’. That horror display at Lincoln summed up the latter months of the Ross regime with the Black Cats producing a performance lacking quality, character, creativity or organisation.
Things were getting worse rather than better.
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