AIDEN McGEADY admits he has suffered a frustrating start to the season, but the Sunderland winger admits he can have no complaints about his failure to force his way into Jack Ross’ starting line-up in the last couple of months.

McGeady is one of the most decorated players in League One, having won more than 90 senior international caps with the Republic of Ireland and played in the top-flight in England, Scotland and Russia.

However, the 32-year-old has started just three league games this season and was forced to come off the bench last weekend as he made a goalscoring contribution to Sunderland’s 3-0 win over Southend.

McGeady suffered an injury at the start of the summer that forced him to miss the whole of pre-season, and has effectively been playing catch-up since he returned to full training in the middle of last month.

He is grateful that Jack Ross allowed him to go straight into training with the first team, but understands why the Sunderland boss has been reluctant to make too many changes to the team that has taken the Black Cats to third position in the table.

Saturday’s cameo suggests the Irishman is more than capable of making a major impact in the third tier, but while he admits he does not enjoy having to watch his team-mates from the substitutes’ bench, he will not be banging on Ross’ door demanding a starting spot.

“I missed all of pre-season, got myself to a stage where I could run, and basically went straight back into training,” said McGeady, who joined Sunderland from Everton under David Moyes. “I didn’t really have a mini pre-season and I think the manager did it the right way, he thought I’d gain more from training with the team than running on my own.

“Then again, it’s not quite as simple as, ‘Right, there’s you straight back in the team’. The lads have been playing well and there’s no guaranteed starters in this team.

“It’s down to me whenever I play to show the manager that I deserve to play. It’s been frustrating for me missing pre-season, because I’m watching the team playing well and I’m wanting to be part of it. But I’m getting there.

“We’ll see what happens. If I’m not starting or coming on, I’m getting older now and I’m not the type to be asking the manager why I’m not playing. I’ll take it as it comes and do my best whenever I’m called upon.”

Saturday’s victory extended Sunderland’s winning run to four league matches, and last month’s 2-1 loss at Burton remains the Black Cats’ only defeat in League One.

They are one point behind second-placed Peterborough United and three points adrift of league leaders Portsmouth, but boast a game in hand on both of their rivals.

They head to 22nd-placed Plymouth Argyle this weekend, and with 15 league games under their belt, McGeady claims they should be happy with their start.

“The goal at the start of the season was to be up there,” he said. “At the moment, we’re just starting to build some momentum. We’re starting to turn those draws earlier in the season into victories.”

It is certainly a different story to McGeady’s first two seasons on Wearside, when an air of negativity enveloped the Stadium of Light.

“It’s definitely been chalk and cheese from last season,” he said. “I remember playing games here last season, playing 3-5-2 at home, we go a goal down and it seems almost impossible to come back from that.

“That’s how I felt anyway and I think a lot of other people did as well. Now, we’re tight at the back but we’ve got a lot of different attacking players, a lot of variations with players who can play anywhere across the front. It’s a good headache for the manager to have.”