The Chalkboard: Ross needs to deploy O’Nien in Sunderland midfield vs Accrington

Despite his natural position throughout his career being central midfield, Luke O’Nien has often been used as something of a utility player by Jack Ross following his summer move to Sunderland, but that needs to change for the visit of Accrington Stanley to the Stadium of Light on Friday night.

On the chalkboard

The Black Cats missed the chance to really put the pressure on second-placed Barnsley in League One when they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Blackpool on Tuesday, and O’Nien was brought back into the starting XI at right-back for the clash against the Seasiders.

Most of the 24-year-old’s appearances for the Wearside outfit this term have come in that position, although his return to the side was slightly surprising given Adam Matthews had been preferred to him for the win against AFC Wimbledon and draw with Oxford United previously.

Given Ross has Matthews available and midfielders such as captain George Honeyman and Lynden Gooch are hardly in good form right now, Friday is the time to change things up in order to get a much-needed three points.

O’Nien back in midfield

Despite doing well enough in the position, the 24-year-old doesn’t really have the attributes needed to play the role of an attacking full-back, and he would be much better suited in the centre of the pitch.

The indoor football skills in the video below have to be seen to be believed…

Sunderland are in dire need of more creativity and goals right now given they are struggling to score more than once in a game and in general seem to be conceding – as they did against Blackpool and Oxford – and O’Nien could certainly help deliver seeing as he has four goals and two assists in 21 League One outings for them.

With Grant Leadbitter a sure-fire starter a place for him in midfield could depend on Ross changing formation or dropping one of skipper Honeyman or Gooch – none of which should be out of the question in the bid to win promotion.

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