Former Newcastle United centre-back and pundit has backed Sunderland winger Aiden McGeady to guide Sunderland to greater things, in an interview with the Football Fancast.
The 35-year-old winger topped the League One assists chart at the end of the 2020/21 campaign despite only becoming a regular when manager Lee Johnson was appointed in December – but faced losing him and 26-goal forward Charlie Wyke with their contracts expiring at the Stadium of Light this summer.
Although Wyke did eventually move on to third-tier rivals Wigan Athletic, McGeady has opted to stay with the Wearside for another year and put pen to paper on a contract extension at the end of last month.
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With another key Black Cats player in Luke O’Nien signing a new three-year deal last week and Alex Pritchard joining the club on Friday, things are started to look up for the League One club after a very quiet summer on the incomings front.
And although there is still plenty for Lee Johnson and his recruitment team to do before their opening league fixture against Wigan, getting an assists machine like McGeady tied down is a massive boost for Sunderland.
Speaking to the Football Fancast about the player and another possible key factor in their promotion chances next term, Newcastle centre-back Steve Howey said: “At that level, he stands out. But what Sunderland must do is not draw as many games.
“I think it was 16 or 17 games last season. If you lose half of them and win half of them, you go up as champions, easily.”
Howey is right to point out these two factors.
Although McGeady needs a replacement for Wyke so he can be as effective next season as he was in the last, his contract extension is at least a decent start for a side who have failed to make major moves in the transfer market just yet.
In the final couple of years in his playing career, the 35-year-old may have wanted to hold out for a move to the second tier but has remained committed to the cause at the Stadium of Light – and says he wants to get the Black Cats to the second tier.
The winger’s commitment is admirable and with his creative ability, he will be hoping to reduce the numbers of draws his side picks up next season.
Turning draws into wins will be crucial.