This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Comment’ series, this content strand is where the author of the article issues their personal opinion on the topic at hand….
Phil Parkinson announced himself dramatically at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday, as his Sunderland side hammered Tranmere Rovers 5-0 in his first home game in charge.
The result means the Black Cats have climbed back up to eighth in League One, only outside the top-six on goal difference and five points back from league leaders Ipswich Town.
Parkinson has experience getting sides promoted in League One, having done so with Colchester United, Bradford City and Bolton Wanderers, and with him at the helm you feel that the North East club should very much be considered as contenders to make the step up at the end of the season.
Should Sunderland sign Marcus Maddison in January?
The 51-year-old may feel he needs some squad reinforcements in January to help him do that and one man that it appears the Black Cats are interested in is Peterborough United playmaker Marcus Maddison–who has scored seven goals and provided six assists already this season.
According to the Chronicle Live, Sunderland are monitoring Maddison’s situation at his current club as the 26-year-old’s current contract is set to expire next summer.
The report suggests that should the Posh drop their asking price for the attacking midfielder, currently the buyout clause of £2.5 million, then the North East club may move for him in January but otherwise, they’re willing to wait and try to sign him as a free agent next summer.
However, there is a player in the Sunderland squad who can prove to the club over the next few months that they don’t need to shell out the cash for Maddison in January.
Luke O’Nien has been a victim of his own versatility at Sunderland in recent years, being moved around between central midfielder, attacking midfield and often right-back.
He proved an impressive creative influence from the right-hand side of defence last season–providing five goals and seven assists in League One and finishing the season as the second-highest contributor of assists–but the arrival of Conor McLaughlin means that Parkinson does have some other options in the position.
O’Nien is once again the Black Cats’ leading provider of assists and scored his second goal of the season against Tranmere on Tuesday, with the side’s and, perhaps the form of Will Grigg after his goal, potentially about to turn, you feel that moving him further forward could be best for both O’Nien and the team.
He is unlikely to match the sort of production Maddison will provide, given the hot form the 26-year-old is in, but you feel he could make the role his own over the next few months and prove to the club they don’t need to shell out the cash the Peterborough playmaker in January.