He spent a successful loan spell at Hartlepool last year and looked set for another move away from Wearside - but his stunning winning goal and positive impact after coming on as a substitute will have given O'Neill some food for thought.
The Sunderland boss said: "Ryan was very, very positive. I thought it was a fantastic goal and it was deserved. I thought he made a fantastic impact in the 15 minutes he was on. He tried to get hold of it - he didn't give it away and played a superb little ball through for the goal and then his goal was absolutely fantastic. Delighted with that."