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McGeady playing through pain barrier to aid Sunderland's promotion push

The Republic of Ireland winger has been his club’s stand-out performer throughout this season.

Sunderland's Aiden McGeady.
Sunderland's Aiden McGeady.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

AIDEN McGEADY HAS been defying an injury as he attempts to ensure that Sunderland are playing Championship football next season.

The Republic of Ireland international revealed that he broke a bone in his foot while playing for the Black Cats in their recent League One fixture against Accrington Stanley.

McGeady captained the side and opened the scoring in Sunderland’s 3-0 away win earlier this month. He was then forced to come off at half-time and subsequently sat out games against Rochdale and Burton Albion.

However, the veteran winger returned as a substitute against Coventry City before starting against Doncaster Rovers and Peterborough United.

“It’s probably not the right thing to say because if you put it out in the open that you have an injury, teams might try and capitalise on it and take advantage,” said McGeady, as reported by Chronicle Live.

“Against Accrington I fractured a bone in my foot, so either my season was over or I tried to manage to play with the aid of anaesthetic injections to try to ease the pain. So from day to day I have been doing nothing, not training, and then playing. That’s what has happened in the last two games.”

McGeady has been Sunderland’s stand-out performer this season, as evidenced by his inclusion in the PFA League One Team of the Year which was released yesterday.

The 33-year-old, who was last capped by Ireland in the 5-1 World Cup play-off defeat to Denmark, has scored 14 goals, as well as providing six assists, in all competitions this season. 

“If I am being totally honest, in parts of those games I don’t feel myself because there is that thing in the back of my head where I still have this pain,” McGeady continued.

“But the manager wants to take the risk and I do as well. I didn’t want my season to finish because I was enjoying playing and I am enjoying my football and the team was on a good run. I didn’t want my season to finish six weeks early.

Republic of Ireland v Denmark - 2018 FIFA World Cup - Qualifying Play-off - Second Leg - Aviva Stadium McGeady and Cyrus Christie pictured after Ireland's defeat to Denmark in Dublin in November 2017. Source: Brian Lawless

“So myself, the management, and the physios took the approach that I could play and not make the injury any worse by getting injections before the games.

“I think the manager sees me as, not a luxury player, but someone who can change things. That has been the thread through my whole career and the manager is okay with me lacking in other parts of my game because of the injury. If I am able to produce something that helps us get to closer to our goal this season, he will accept that.”

Having suffered back-to-back relegations, Sunderland currently occupy the second play-off place in League One. A win over Portsmouth this weekend would see them leapfrog Pompey into third place.

As things stand, Jack Ross’s side are four points adrift of automatic promotion but they do have the benefit of a game in hand on second-placed Barnsley.

McGeady added: “Ultimately, if we don’t go up it is our own fault. There have been vital times in the season where we have not won games and not capitalised on the advantages we have had.

“Portsmouth went to Burton and won; we played Burton at home and drew. We lost to Coventry at home; Portsmouth beat them. It’s small margins like that that could be season-defining.” 

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Paul Dollery

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