Player Preview: O'Nien relishing busy schedule

Luke O’Nien is confident that if Sunderland execute their game plan at Swindon Town, they will come away with the three points.

Phil Parkinson’s team return to Sky Bet League One action at the County Ground after a two-week hiatus, and will look to extend an unbeaten league start – an objective O’Nien feels can be achieved in winning fashion.

“Swindon haven’t had too bad a start, and we’ve done a lot of homework on them,” he explained.

“They’ve just come up, but we can’t take any team for granted in this league, and they’ve got some quality in their side.

“We’ll make sure we try and stop their attacks, and then we’ll look to implement our game plan onto them. If we execute that, then I’m confident we can get the three points.”

O’Nien is among a defensive clutch of players in the squad this season having taken on a wing-back role in Parkinson’s back five, and despite several players missing and doubtful for the weekend, the 25-year-old assured fans that there is quality in depth throughout the squad – particularly boosted by Dion Sanderson’s deadline day loan signing.

“We’ve had some time to train really well since we had the internationals, the boys are feeling good and we’re excited to play our first game in a while.

“We’ve got quality players everywhere, and if you look at the last few games, we’ve had players come off the bench and make an impact.

“Everyone wants to get in the team and pull on the shirt, so there’s competition everywhere, and the youngsters are impressing recently as well.”

The trip to Wiltshire represents the first of five league fixtures spanning just two weeks until the end of this month – something O’Nien takes all the positives from with 15 points still on offer in October.

“Personally, I prefer the Saturday-Tuesday run of games.

“I enjoy them – you can get into a nice rhythm in yourself and as a team, and it’s important to keep that unbeaten record going, and then turn those close draws into wins.

“It’s an exciting time with all the games coming up, and we need to go looking to win at Swindon and then build from there.”

Originally a midfielder by trade, O’Nien has been successfully operated as a defender by Phil Parkinson since the summer – most commonly in a right-wing-back berth – and claimed he is thoroughly enjoying his football.

“The wing-back role has been really enjoyable. I’ve got [Jordan] Willis alongside me, and Chrissy [Maguire] and other very good players in front of me,” he said.

“Having them around me makes my job a lot easier – having Willis there enables me to get forward, and with the quality of Chris in front of me, he puts me in some good positions to level some final balls and gives me some support as well.

“I’ve enjoyed bombing up and down the right-hand side, learning every day – the staff here are really helping me improve week-on-week – to become a stronger player. We’ve got very good players everywhere, so it’s important that you keeping performing and giving your all for the team.”
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