Aidan O’Brien will step up in the injury-enforced absence of Aiden McGeady at Sunderland. 

That is according to Sunderland legend Kevin Phillips, speaking exclusively to Football Insider ahead of Saturday’s clash with Accrington Stanley.

Manager Lee Johnson confirmed McGeady will miss the match after suffering a foot injury in Sunderland’s 2-2 draw with Hull last Saturday.

In a previous conversation with this site, Phillips called McGeady the “best in the league” and his absence will come as a blow.

O’Brien, 27, and Chris Maguire, 32, are among the candidates to replace the 93-time Republic of Ireland international in the starting XI.

Phillips tips O’Brien to get the nod from Johnson ahead of Maguire at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

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He told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs: “Lee Johnson could say to Maguire: ‘Here’s your opportunity, go and take it.’ 

“He can certainly play, so why not? But then again, it might not be him, it might be someone else.

“Aidan O’Brien will probably come into the side. It could be any of those players. It’s all an opportunity for someone to come in.

“I would be surprised if it’s Maguire because he has only been used for the odd few minutes here and there.

“I think he’ll probably go down a different avenue than that to be honest. We know O’Brien can do well there.”

Sunderland are currently 3rd in League One, seven points behind Peterborough in the last automatic promotion spot.

They have a seven-point cushion on 7th-place Oxford and look set to earn a spot in the playoffs after missing out last term.

In other news, Phillips fears Sunderland will lose key man this summer.