Phil Parkinson lifts the lid on Sunderland dressing room unity and reveals why he wants Aiden McGeady to leave in January
Phil Parkinson has confirmed Aiden McGeady can leave Sunderland in January and believes it is in the best interests of the club.
McGeady, the club’s top scorer this season, is no longer part of Parkinson’s first team plans and can leave Wearside when the window opens in January.
Parkinson, under-fire from Sunderland fans after a dismal start to his reign at the Stadium of Light, says it is not as a result of a particular incident
Ahead of the visit of Blackpool on Saturday, Parkinson, speaking to TV cameras at the Academy of Light, said: “We have spoken to Aidy about January and moving on, I feel it is fair to him to tell him now to sort something out.
“It gives me the opportunity to concentrate on the team moving forward.
“I feel it is the best thing for the team moving forward.”
When quizzed on whether it was one particular incident that had sparked the decision, Parkinson said: “It is not one particular incident, It is a decision I have made
“I wanted to tell Aidy and his agent early enough so we can put plans in place for January as well”
Parkinson added: “It is a big decision, not one we have taken lightly, I have given things a lot of thought and I am confident it is the right thing for the club.”
Pressed on whether it was a decision take for on or off the pitch reasons, Parkinson said: “Bit of both. It is giving Geads the opportunity to get something sorted. If you make these decisions in January it can sometimes be too late.
“We decided to have the chat this week and that is what we have done.”
Parkinson has won just two of his twelve games in charge since replacing Jack Ross.
McGeady signed a contract extension last season after a stellar campaign, keeping him at the club until the end of next season.
His pre-season was significantly affected by injury but he is nevertheless the club's top scorer this term with six goals in all competitions.
Parkinson confirmed McGeady would not be involved against Blackpool, with his Sunderland career seemingly over.
Asked if he would play again, Parkinson said: “I feel the best way forward is to find a solution and move on in January, so I can concentrate on the players which are here.
“At the moment we want to move on with the players who are going to be here and concentrate on working with them.”
And pressed on whether he could shed anymore light on the situation, Parkinson said: “Conversations have to stay private between managers and players. January was round the corner. We are making plans on that. We wanted to be fair to Aidy and give him plenty of time.”
When quizzed about dressing room divisions, Parkinson said: “I think when you are not winning games there will always be some disagreements, which you accept.
“But the unity of the dressing room is paramount to the club going forward, we have a good set of lads, we are pulling together, we are all frustrated, but we are doing everything to try and turn it around.”
Pressed on whether there has been a lack of unity in the dressing room, Parkinson said: “It can get better, we need to work on that, to formulate a spirit in the group.
“There is a core of very good lads. There is a determination among the staff and the players to get back to winning ways heading into the christmas period.”
Asked whether groups had developed within the squad, Parkinson said: “When you are on a bad run of results, things like that emerge more.
“Is it the greatest dressing room I have ever been a part of? Probably not.
“Can we find a way to increase that spirit? Definitely.
“Every team needs that togetherness and spirit. We have a good group who can create that, that is what we are working towards.”
Parkinson doesn’t expect others to follow McGeady out the door.
He added: “In terms of at this moment, no. We are concentrating on the rest of the group and look to get some results before January.”