Despite managing to secure a 2-1 away win against Cambridge United in their latest League One match at the weekend, Sunderland have been dealt a potentially massive injury blow which will surely leave a lot of Black Cats fans gutted.
Speaking after the game at Cambridge, Sunderland manager Lee Johnson revealed that Luke O’Nien will have to have an operation to fix a shoulder injury that he has apparently been struggling with for most of the campaign, and has suffered repeated dislocations.
Johnson then revealed that this will keep the midfielder, who is currently earning a weekly wage of £5k-per-week according to Spotrac, out for a minimum of three months but potentially up to nine months depending on how much work it needs to fix his shoulder.
This will not only be a big setback for O’Nien and the team in the long-term if he has to spend a significant number of months on the sidelines, but it’s also a massive blow to the team right now considering how O’Nien has had to fill in at left-back in recent weeks due to the other current injury issues Sunderland have.
With 21 appearances under his belt for Sunderland across all competitions so far this season with an overall performance rating of 7.16/10 in the league, making him Sunderland’s second-highest rated player according to WhoScored, this highlights just how valuable and important O’Nien has been for Johnson.
Also, with O’Nien racking up an average of three clearances per game, 1.9 tackles per game and 1.4 interceptions per game in League One so far this season, this shows just how important he has been for Sunderland and why his absence is a crushing piece of news for supporters.
The manager will not only have to hope that O’Nien will not be out for longer than the estimated minimum of three months, but he will also be hoping that the other injured players, particularly full-backs in Dennis Cirkin, Niall Huggins and Denver Hume will be able to get back to action as soon as possible to keep the side in the race for promotion.