Sunderland boss Lee Johnson has admitted to Chronicle Live that he doesn’t want to be seen as the big bad wolf for leaving out Aiden O’Brien against Accrington Stanley.
The 27-year-0ld forward was completely left out of the 18 that featured against their fellow Sky Bet League One side and it is bound to be a move that prompts a lot of questions amongst the Black Cats’ support.
O’Brien was well documented to have wanted to have left the club on deadline day, with a loan move to Doncaster Rovers being ever so close to going through before it eventually fell apart during the final few hours of the transfer window.
Now Johnson has moved to explain exactly why he left the former Millwall man out of the squad on Saturday as he stated the following:
“You don’t want to be the big bad wolf. You want the relationship with the players and it’s human nature to want to play.
“You try and give clarity. You try and be as honest and open from the start which is obviously why Aiden was effectively offered a loan but at the same time I’m delighted he’s stayed in.
“So it was always going to be a short term thing in one sense for Aiden because I need to know what I’ve got.”
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Despite seemingly seeking to move away from the Stadium of Light over the summer, O’Brien has still greatly thrived for Sunderland this term, striking four goals in his opening five games across all competitions, with all of his efforts to date coming in the Carabao Cup.
The Republic of Ireland international currently has less than 12 months remaining on his contract in the North East.
It is a tough situation for O’Brien to be in as he has obviously slipped down the pecking order at the Stadium of Light due to his desire to leave for a new challenge.
Unfortunately his proposed move to Doncaster fell through and he has now seemingly been left in limbo.
The best thing he can do now is knuckle down until January and continue to take the chances that he is afforded by hitting the back of the net as he has done already this term.
There is sure to be interest in his services come the winter window if his situation at Sunderland doesn’t improve.