Due to a disastrous run of results since the turn of the year, Sunderland face an uphill battle to achieve automatic promotion. However, following their 3-0 win at Wigan Athletic on Saturday, their play-off hopes remain intact. On the back of this morale-boosting victory, three key Sunderland players have now returned to training following injury to aid the Black Cats’ chances of gaining promotion from League One.
In news that will delight new head coach Alex Neil and Sunderland’s fans, Aiden McGeady, Luke O’Nien, and Nathan Broadhead have today returned to training following injury.
Three Key Sunderland Players Return to Training Following Injury
📸 On the way back 💪#SAFC pic.twitter.com/w6mUhvLJey
— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) March 1, 2022
Aiden McGeady Returns to Training but This Could Be His Final Season on Wearside Amongst Sunderland Players
Veteran winger Aiden McGeady signed a one-year contract extension last summer; however, the former Republic of Ireland International has struggled for game time so far this season. Recent reports in The Sun and the Sunderland Echo suggest that the Black Cats could part ways with the skillful attacker when his contract ends.
McGeady, who signed for Sunderland in 2017 has struggled with a knee injury this season but may now be on the verge of a return. Despite reports of his possible departure, McGeady still has the ability to be a key player for the remainder of his time on Wearside.
‘Mr. Versitile’ Luke O’Nien Back Following a Difficult Time Out Injured
Sunderland’s ‘Mr. Versitile’ is also back. O’Nien, who has played in several positions since arriving in 2018, has been missing with a shoulder injury for several months. He has also shared his frustration and how he has struggled mentally whilst being on the sidelines. In a post on his Instagram page, O’Nien said: “I see myself as quite a strong person so thought I’d be ok dealing with a long-term injury. I didn’t think that being sidelined would affect me.
“However, I was wrong, and being completely honest I’ve struggled. I always thought if I got injured it would be quite straightforward. Do the necessary rehab and get stronger until I was fit to play again.
“I felt lonely, I lost the daily connection I had with my teammates as I rehabbed in isolation. I started to question my identity. I’m a footballer. Who am I if I can’t play football? Being injured led to me feeling lonely, to not wanting to get out of bed in the morning, to not wanting to be social. I became withdrawn, frustrated and angry.”
O’Nien Advises What He Changed to Help Himself
O’Nien would go on to say what had helped him get through this difficult stage in his career and life: “Here are the things that helped me: Get more certainty by making new daily routines & setting/working towards targets.
“Having structure in the day is really important and definitely helps. Stay connected with people in a different way. For example, while I’ve been injured me and my friend have been helping the Sunderland academy players.
“Re-define who you are. You can’t define yourself by something that can get taken away or will stop one day. You’re not just ‘a footballer’ you are a person who plays football amongst other things. Contribute in a different way. You may not be able to play but there are other ways you can help the team succeed. Maybe you can support other players or the club in some other way.”