Not that long ago, a January departure from Sunderland must have seemed inevitable for Aiden McGeady.
After falling down the pecking order at the Stadium of Light, and spending the second half of last season on loan at Charlton as they were relegated from the Championship, McGeady initially struggled to force his way back into the Black Cats squad following his return to the club for the start of this season.
As a result, with his contract set to expire at the end of this season, it would have made sense for Sunderland to move him on in January to at least try and receive a fee for him.
But since the departure of Phil Parkinson and appointment of Lee Johnson as the club’s new manager at the end of November and start of December, all that seems to have changed for McGeady, and his prospects at The Stadium of Light.
Recent weeks have seen McGeady handed an opportunity in the Sunderland side again, and it is one he seems to have taken.
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Having now started four of the Blacks Cats’ last five league games, it seems as though the Irishman is starting to once again establish himself in the Sunderland side, with the attacker providing one assist and scoring once – an excellent header to equalise in his side’s 1-1 draw with Hull last time out – during that run in the side.
Indeed, it was reported on the eve of the January transfer window that McGeady is set to stay at the club until the end of the season at least, with Johnson confident he can make an impact at this level.
McGeady’s latest performances and contributions do suggest that he is on track to proving his manager right, and given that recent run in the side, it would now be a surprise to see him leave the Stadium of Light in the next few weeks.
Even so, with his contract now fast approaching its conclusion, you do feel that McGeady is going to have to consistently make those sort of impacts for the Black Cats over the next few months to prove he is worthy of a new deal, given his status as one of the club’s highest earners.