Sunderland will be relatively satisfied with their start in League 1 after taking 15 points from their first eight games.
Jack Ross’ men sit in fourth place — five points behind Portsmouth in first — and take on Rochdale next at home on Saturday following their 2-1 defeat last week to Burton.
And while the loss at Burton, of course, came as a disappointment, there was at least one positive to take away from the game: the return of Aiden McGeady.
McGeady had missed the start of the new campaign through injury, but was able to get some minutes under his belt as a substitute at the Pirelli Stadium and now looks close to full fitness.
And his return to the first team will come as a massive boost to Ross and Sunderland in their race to gain promotion back to the Championship.
With Chris Maguire, who was dropped for last Saturday’s game, struggling for form, McGeady’s availability could not have come at a better time.
At 32, the £2.25m-rated (via Transfermarkt) Republic of Ireland international may not be the player he once was, but he is still an individual who can bring much to this Sunderland side.
In terms of technical ability, it would be difficult to find a better player in League 1 with McGeady often so devastating and unpredictable with his dribbling ability when taking on defenders in 1v1 situations.
His goal-scoring and assist statistics from the last two Championship seasons also make for decent reading, further displaying what he can add to Sunderland’s attack.
With McGeady’s return comes added competition, too, which could bring the best out of players such as Maguire who is ready to do battle with the former Everton man for a spot but, nonetheless, is delighted to see him back in action.
“It’s great to have him back and it’ll only help the squad and the hunger,” Maguire told Chronicle Live. “It’s good for the full team because there’s other boys coming back also. Nobody’s got the right to keep their place unless they’re performing week in, week out.
“It’s going to benefit if it brings the best out of the players starting and that will make it tough for the boys to get in. We’ve got a great squad and if everybody pulls together, that’s what a squad’s for.”
Ultimately, with McGeady in the team, Sunderland can go up another gear. In the ex-Spartak Moscow and Celtic player, Ross has a winger who possesses immense technical quality and has the sort of ability that can help the club earn promotion.