The success of Sunderland’s season will be decided in the next two or three fixtures.
While things have gone relatively well since Lee Johnson took charge it will mean nothing to supporters unless the club can finish the job of securing promotion.
Expectations at the start of the campaign were based purely on ending their time in League One, and while it’s been a decent campaign there’s no escaping that it will be a failure if the Wearsiders do not thrive in the play-offs.
Sunderland’s form has been helped by the performance of a core group of players including the likes of Dion Sanderson, Luke O’Nien, Max Power, Aiden McGeady and Charlie Wyke, but there’s an argument that some players were perhaps expected to have a bigger impact.
With that in mind here are two players who we expected a bit more from this season.
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The winger was expected to be one of Sunderland’s main men for the duration of the 2020-21 season.
After being a key man under Phil Parkinson the experienced winger struggled to convince Lee Johnson that he was worthy of a spot in the starting XI, meaning that he was often found on the bench or outside of the matchday squad.
Eight goals and six assists isn’t a bad tally, but many would have expected much more if the 32-year-old had been as central a figure as he’d been in recent years.
A player who arrived at the club last summer, Aiden O’Brien was expected to be a regular source of goals this term.
While the former Millwall man has played 39 times for Sunderland this season, the striker has scored just six times in all competitions with only four of them coming in the league.
O’Brien has certainly contributed this term, but I’m sure that the 27-year-old will be disappointed that he’s been able to offer more in terms of goals and assists.