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Sunderland: Kevin Phillips hints that Aiden O’Brien could leave in January

Sunderland: Kevin Phillips hints that Aiden O’Brien could leave in January -Sunderland News

Sunderland legend Kevin Phillips believes that the Black Cats could offload Aiden O’Brien in January, even though the decision would surprise him.

The Lowdown: O’Brien tipped for Sunderland exit

The 27-year-old has been a solid servant for the club, scoring 10 times in 45 appearances since signing from Millwall last year.

Despite his relatively short and fruitful time at the Stadium of Light, O’Brien was linked with leaving Sunderland on loan in the summer transfer window, with a mooted deadline day move to Doncaster Rovers ultimately falling through.

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The Latest: Phillips makes January prediction

Speaking to Football Insider, Phillips admitted his surprise that O’Brien is unwanted by Lee Johnson, but suggested that the Irishman could now leave in January instead. He said:

“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.”

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How well do you know Super Kev, Sunderland fans? Find out with our quiz! To start off, how much did the Black Cats pay for Phillips in 1997?

The Verdict: Strange call by Black Cats?

Phillips is correct in his assessment, with O’Brien a player who can offer quality and squad depth to Sunderland as they look to return to the Championship after a four-year exile.

Granted, the forward may not necessarily be a regular starter under Johnson, but he has already scored an eye-catching four goals in just two Carabao Cup appearances this season.

Keeping O’Brien for the rest of the season and selling him when his contract expires next summer makes more sense, allowing the Black Cats to get one more year out of him – unless they decide to extend his deal should he continue to impress when given the chance.

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Article title: Sunderland: Kevin Phillips hints that Aiden O’Brien could leave in January

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