Michael Dunne says...
The question has to be asked - do we really want to get promoted?
If the answer is yes, then Aiden McGeady starts. We are a better team with him in it. McGeady’s quality is visible for all to see and is the reason we are talking about promotion.
Of course, it is important that we look at the financial side of things and the cost of keeping him if we are in League One next season.
It is important the club get this right, but I still don’t think we are out of this tie on Saturday, and the focus should be on ensuring we have the best team on the pitch to win.
Aiden McGeady is our best player.
David Holloway says...
Aiden McGeady has been a rare thing at Sunderland over the last four years.
He’s a player of genuine quality and experience - a player who is capable of getting you out of your seat. There have been precious few of them over the last few years.
Let's also not forget McGeady’s commitment, playing through the pain barrier with a broken foot a couple of years ago, and taking an effective pay cut to extend his stay here.
Simon Grayson did little right in his time at Sunderland, but bringing McGeady here was a great thing.
If however - as it seems - we are to face another season in League One, it is time to move on. Despite McGeady’s quality we need to build a new team - a younger more energetic team that is more than the sum of its parts.
So thank you Aiden, but it's time.
Gary Engel says...
Sunderland’s new data analysis team and Sporting Director will have a list of targets. If they think they can genuinely attract a younger, cheaper version of McGeady to the club, including while in League One for another season, it stands to business reason we should start afresh. But it has to be remembered if it wasn’t for Aiden McGeady’s form from December on, we wouldn’t have been anywhere near the play-offs, let alone within a whisker of automatic promotion only a few weeks back.
Obviously we have to be financially realistic - McGeady’s wage would not be an issue in the Championship, but there is obviously the sense that promotion is now a bridge too far. In his glaring omission, the fans and our opponents will see it as raising the white flag on Saturday even before a ball is kicked. As influential as he has been in matches this term, we are unlikely to come out on top come Saturday afternoon.
McGeady and his relationship with this club is a mystery wrapped in a conundrum. During our best form this season everyone felt the excitement and buzz when he received the ball. At that stage he had plenty of movement around him, players all willing to provide options.
But as our form flat-lined, it's all his teammates who stop to watch what he is going to do. They stand like statues as though the music has stopped and McGeady suddenly looks slow, his tricks overused and his shots no longer come off. It's probably felt we need McGeady’s ability and intelligence - only in more than one player, at a fraction of the cost.
Like many before him, he was the right player perhaps at the wrong time.