Aiden O'Brien reveals his early impressions of new Sunderland boss Lee Johnson

Sunderland’s dressing room just have to ‘go with the flow’ as they prepare for an extended period without fixtures.

Thursday, 17th December 2020, 12:23 pm

That’s the view of forward Aiden O’Brien, who was hopeful that Saturday’s game with Shrewsbury Town could still go ahead.

But it was yesterday confirmed that the Black Cats’ next three League One games have been postponed.

Sunderland were without eight players for the visit of AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday evening, after a member of the first-team squad returned a positive test – with seven more individuals then made to self-isolate as a result.

How the Sunderland dressing room have reacted to the club's COVID-19 outbreak

And O’Brien says the dressing room aren’t looking too far ahead as they prepare for an extended break from fixtures – with their next scheduled game now on December 29.

"The staff are working well behind the scenes to get things organised and we've got to take whatever happens and just go with the flow really,” said the former Millwall man, speaking before the decision to postpone the trio of fixtures..

“We've got to listen to the guidelines and the doctor - that's what they're there for really.

“Hopefully it's nothing that can rule out Saturday and we can go again. If it does we stick together and wait for the next one.”

O’Brien was handed a start against the Dons as Lee Johnson was forced to majorly shuffle his pack, and played the 90 minutes of the 1-1 draw.

It was the summer signing’s first league outing since October – and O’Brien is now targeting further first-team involvement in the coming weeks.

And he hopes that the goals will start to flow as he regains his match fitness once fixtures resume.

"That's football for you really - one man's loss is another man's gain," O’Brien said.

“As you see a few lads made their debut tonight and that's brilliant isn't it.

“It's unfortunate we didn't get the win because I thought we played really well. We dictated the play, we just didn't have a lot of chances and that was frustrating for me up there and for Griggy and the other attacking players.

“We take the positives and we move on.”

"For me personally I want to be playing every game," he continued.

"As a player you want to be putting on the shirt every game and playing 90 minutes every game.

“Sometimes, it doesn't work like that and the squad rotates. Different personnel for different games but you've got to be ready to take your chance - train hard.

“I've just come back from injury so 90 minutes today was spot on for me personally. I just want to get stronger and stronger - fitter and fitter and start banging in goals, because that's what I live for.”

The start against Wimbledon was O’Brien’s first taste of life under new head coach Johnson, with whom he had just one training session before being thrust straight into action.

But the early impressions have been good.

"For me personally I had my first training session on Monday with him and the staff,” said O’Brien.

"This is my first game. Judging it by today I was really impressed with how it all went. The speeches before and the game plan.

“I'm really looking forward to working with him and hopefully long may it continue.”