Sunderland’s risk of playing Aiden McGeady has backfired as he missed out on their 1-0 play-off win against Portsmouth yesterday.
The Black Cats gave themselves a slender advantage to take into the second leg, but had to do so without their 33-year-old star player. He’s been playing with the aid of injections recently, a gamble that Jack Ross hoped would lead to automatic promotion.
It didn’t and despite being named in the side yesterday, McGeady had to withdraw in the warm up. It’s a massive blow to Ross, who has seen the Eire attacker in fine form in the season run in.
They’re now concerned over his ability to play in the second leg next week.
“Aiden has been playing with a foot problem for a while and he has been playing with the aid of injections,” he told the official club site.
“He had a little bit longer rest period by missing the last couple of league games, he trained yesterday, but for some reason the injections he has had prior to matches didn’t have quite the same effect tonight.
“He wanted to give it as long as he could, and he took part in the warm-up, but it was still causing him a lot of pain.”
That’s a worry going forward. despite the slim lead, the game is delicately poised and Portsmouth will be hopeful of stealing a couple of goals and going forward to meet either Doncaster or Charlton in the semi-final.
Whether McGeady plays or not is now up to fate.
“We will just see how he reacts over the next 24-48 hours,” Ross said.
“He needs a prolonged period of rest and he will get that over the summer, we were just hoping to get him through to that point. The pain has fluctuated so we won’t make any snap judgements on it. We will look at it again tomorrow morning and go from there.”
Playing him in that run in was a huge mistake. He wasn’t as effective and now they’ve possibly lost him for their most crucial matches.
In football, you make judgement calls. Some come off, others do not.
Sadly, this one has not come off and Sunderland could yet pay the price.