Kevin Phillips has offered his thoughts on the reports of Aiden O’Brien’s failed move from Sunderland to Doncaster.
Former Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips has admitted that he was surprised by the reports that the club were willing to loan Aiden O’Brien out this summer.
A deadline day move to fellow League One outfit Doncaster was on the cards until a paperwork error caused it to break down, with Phillips now suggesting that the Black Cats may try to ship him out again in the January transfer window.
“I am surprised to hear that, to be honest.
“This season you want people in your squad who know where the back of the net is.
“There will be times where Ross Stewart is suspended or injured this season and in O’Brien you have a player who knows League One.
“He scored a great hat-trick in the cup and he knows where the back of the net is. That’s why I’m surprised they would consider allowing him to leave on loan. He has that experience.
“Luckily it has not happened but perhaps there will be some movement in January. We will have to watch this space.”
Sunderland chief Kristjaan Speakman must avoid having a howler of a January transfer window and instead, he must keep O’Brien at the club. He must not allow the attacker to depart from the Stadium of Light, on loan or permanently, as he could be an important member of the squad this season.
There is a fair way to go until the January window, of course, but as it stands, it does not appear to be a smart decision to allow him to leave.
As Phillips said, Sunderland need depth in the forward areas as they could be left light if Stewart picks up an injury and misses five or six games. Nathan Broadhead is also in the building, but he is yet to show what he is capable of after two cameo appearances in League One since arriving from Everton on loan.
O’Brien, meanwhile, has already shown that he can score goals this season. The £6.5k-per-week dynamo has scored four goals in two League Cup matches for the Black Cats, with one against Port Vale and a hat-trick against Championship side Blackpool. This suggests that he has the quality needed to step in and score goals in the third tier should Stewart get injured.
Therefore, allowing him to leave would be a disaster for Sunderland and Speakman as it would rid Lee Johnson of key attacking depth. This is why the Black Cats chief must ensure that O’Brien remains in the squad for the rest of the campaign to help with the promotion push.