Just when you think Sunderland are building ahead of steam, they are halted in their tracks.
The Mackems ended January with back to back League One victories but after yet another draw, they have now dropped out of the play-off places.
Drawing seems to be the order of the day for the Black Cats. Since dropping into England’s third tier, that result has occurred too regularly. They have dropped points in back to back matches now and despite having a new manager, the same old habits keep halting their progress.
Lee Johnson’s team are still yet to taste defeat on the road but after beating MK Dons 3-0 in the Papa John’s Trophy in midweek, you’d have been forgiven for thinking this would be another straightforward win.
However, it was anything but. Sunderland drew 2-2 with the Dons in a repeat of the fixture in the week. They were vibrant in attack last time out but on this occasion, they struggled to finish their chances.
Though, in forward areas, no player was arguably worse than Aiden O’Brien. It was Aiden McGeady who missed a late opportunity but at least he was actually getting in the right areas.
O’Brien struggled throughout the contest and despite a clever piece of play that produced an opening for McGeady in the first half, he was rarely involved.
Despite being on the pitch for just over 20 minutes and thus, having little time to make an impact, Jordan Jones was still more creative. He attempted the same number of dribbles as O’Brien and also provided a key pass.
With that in mind, it wouldn’t be a great surprise if he was in the XI from the off next time out. After all, the Rangers loanee started against Dons in midweek and caught the eye in their 3-0 win, completing a team-high four dribbles.
With Jack Diamond also starting among the subs, O’Brien has plenty of players trying to take his place in the team. If the latter keeps demonstrating the consistency he played with today, he will be out the side quickly.
O’Brien was a liability for the Mackems on Saturday, and Johnson should seriously consider dropping him.