AIDEN McGeady sees his future at Sunderland and has the ability and top-level experience to strengthen the club’s quest for promotion from League One, his manager Jack Ross says.

The former Celtic winger has not made an appearance under Ross, who was appointed during the summer after guiding St Mirren to the Ladbrokes Championship title, due to a calf injury suffered in pre-season.

Ross has faced issues with some international players wishing to leave Sunderland, who have suffered two successive relegations, but says the 32-year-old wants to be at the Stadium of Light and can “absolutely” have a positive impact upon his return.

“His quality is proven, undoubtedly at a higher level than this,” said Ross. “I know that from playing against him from when I was a player and obviously the level that he’s played at in his career since, so when he comes back he just strengthens us again,” added the 42-year-old manager, who saw first-hand what McGeady is capable of while up against the then-Celtic youngster for Falkirk and St Mirren.

Indeed, McGeady actually netted a hat trick for Celtic in a 4-0 December, 2007 victory against Falkirk at Parkhead in which Ross was an unused substitute.

McGeady, capped 92 times for the Republic of Ireland, departed Celtic for Spartak Moscow in a £9.5m transfer in 2010. He spent four years in Russia before moving to Everton in the Premier League, but found himself frozen out at Goodison Park, going on loan to Sheffield Wednesday and then Preston North End. He penned a three-year contract at Sunderland the summer before last, signed by Simon Grayson, his former manager at Preston, who departed the Stadium of Light just months later.

McGeady made 37 appearances for Sunderland last season, scoring seven goals, but could not help the club avoid relegation to League One under Chris Coleman, who Ross replaced as manager in the summer.

Ross is keen to get Sunderland back to the English Championship at the first time of asking this campaign. He says McGeady has struggled with his injury but hopes to have him in place to aid that quest as soon as possible.

“He’s been injured since pre-season,” said Ross. “He has a calf injury, so he isn’t back to fitness, he’s had a few setbacks with it. But hopefully he can continue to make good progress and he’ll be available sooner rather than later."