Sunderland boss Phil Parkinson is under pressure following three consecutive defeats in the FA Cup, EFL Trophy and then a shock League One home defeat by Milton Keynes Dons.
The Black Cats made a flying start to their third straight season in the third-tier, collecting 14 points from their opening six matches.
However, just two wins from their previous five games has seen Parkinson’s side slip to 7th in the table, although the Stadium of Light outfit remain just a single point behind the automatic promotion places.
Here, we’ve been looking at TWO players that the Sunderland boss might want to use more often in the coming weeks..
Quiz: Did these 17 Sunderland players ever actually score a league goal for the club?
Currently on-loan from Wolves, Sanderson enjoyed an impressive loan stint in the Championship at Cardiff last term, but is continuously being overlooked by Parkinson.
The defender proved he was good enough to compete as a regular under Neil Harris, so he should have no problems settling in at League One level.
However, Luke O’Nien is currently being preferred, but knowing that Sanderson is able to play in more than one position, Parkinson should be doing his upmost to find a place for the youngster.
Having joined from Millwall following the expiration of his contract at The Den, O’Brien’s career in the North East is yet to get going.
O’Brien has a proven track record in League One, scoring more than 20 times across two seasons whilst with the Lions.
But whilst the Republic of Ireland international hasn’t yet found his goal-touch on Wearside, he’s only started four times in the league.
And although O’Brien clearly isn’t doing enough to convince Parkinson of a more regular starting place, the under-pressure Black Cats manager might want to consider throwing O’Brien into the mix, who can play on either side – with inform Charlie Wyke occupying the centre-forward role.