Sunderland boss Jack Ross has told The Chronicle that Aiden McGeady is 'miles off' being fit despite being involved against Coventry City on Saturday.
The Black Cats went into Saturday's game with a 19-game unbeaten league run, and no home league defeat this season – but both records came crashing down.
A topsy-turvy game saw the two sides go into half time level at 3-3, and after Max Power had equalised to make it 4-4, Sunderland were looking for a dramatic winner.
However, Coventry snatched all three points through Conor Chaplin, meaning Sunderland lost 5-4 and handed some initiative back to Barnsley in the race for promotion.
Sunderland still have a game in hand, but this slip-up means Barnsley have renewed hope again, and the Black Cats must respond to this bizarre defeat.
They'll need star winger McGeady back fit and firing soon, after picking up a foot injury at Accrington Stanley earlier this month.
McGeady was introduced as a 64th minute substitute against Coventry, but manager Ross was very honest after the final whistle, suggesting that McGeady is 'miles off' being fit and Sunderland had to gamble on him – something that may well worry Sunderland fans.
“Aiden is miles off being fit,” said Ross. “He hasn’t trained at all and we gambled by giving him even more time on the pitch than we had planned for, but we felt we needed to and he was willing to give it a go,” he added.