Sunderland made a welcome return to winning ways last weekend in their clash with Plymouth Argyle following a woeful run of form in League One which resulted in them dropping out of contention for automatic promotion.
Goals from Ross Stewart, Denver Hume and Chris Maguire sealed a 3-1 victory for the Black Cats who are now guaranteed a place in the play-offs.
Set to face a Northampton Town side on Sunday who have already been relegated to League Two, Sunderland will fancy their chances of producing another confidence-boosting performance in this particular fixture.
Whilst Black Cats manager Lee Johnson's number-one priority in the coming weeks will be to be guide his side to promotion via a trip to Wembley Stadium, he may also have to resolve the future of one his key players.
Making reference to the defender's current situation, pundit Kevin Phillips has admitted that whilst the Black Cats ought to be doing everything they can to keep him at the club, he could potentially leave if his side fail to secure a return to the Championship.
Speaking to Football Insider about the 26-year-old, the former Sunderland forward said: "O'Nien has shown his qualities this season.
"It would not cost the world to give him a new deal so it is a no brainer fro me.
"I'm sure there will be an offer on the table.
"He loves the club.
"My only worry is if Sunderland don't go up, he might feel like he needs to play at a higher level at his age.
"There will be all sorts of scenarios in the summer if they don't go up.
"If they do go up, I think they will definitely tie O'Nien down [to a new deal]."
GIVEMESPORT's Joshua Cole says...
When you consider that O'Nien has emerged as a mainstay in Sunderland's side in recent seasons, it is somewhat of a shock that they haven't already decided to extend his stay past the summer.
An incredibly versatile player, the former Wycombe Wanderers man has been utilised in several different positions by the Black Cats in League One as his team-mates have suffered injuries and suspensions.
Having predominately featured at centre-back this season, O'Nien will be aiming to help his side achieve promotion by producing a number of solid displays alongside Bailey Wright in the coming weeks.
With O'Nien averaging an impressive WhoScored match rating of 6.96 in League One, Sunderland must do everything they can to keep him at the club next season regardless of what division they find themselves in as he clearly has the ability to play at a higher level.News Now - Sport News