Luke O’Nien is relishing an ‘incredible’ afternoon at the Stadium of Light - as Sunderland prepare to welcome a bumper crowd for the visit of Bradford..
Over 44,000 tickets have been snapped up for the Boxing Day clash in what will be a modern-day attendance record for the third tier.
O’Nien, a summer arrival from Wycombe, is even roping in some of his own family members in a bid to boost the numbers in what will be the biggest crowd the ex-Watford midfielder has played in front of.
“I’ve been looking on social media and seeing how many tickets we’re selling and it’s pretty incredible,” he said.
“I’m going to drag as many family members up here as possible.
“I know it’s a long drive but I want them to help fill it out.
“It’s going to be special. I haven’t played in front of that many people before.
“I think the most I’ve played in front of is 33 or 34,000 when we played Tottenham in the FA Cup. This will top it.”
Playing in front of such a large crowd will prove to be another magical moment for O’Nien, who is targetting more goals at the Stadium of Light after netting his first in the win over Barnsley.
He admits that it was a ‘special’ milestone in his career, and one which ranks highly among his achievements.
And he’s now keen to continue scoring goals on home soil - provided he can ensure he doesn’t crash his car when passing the ‘beautiful’ ground.
“That’s up there with one of my favourite days. That was incredible,” he admitted.
“From the moment I signed here and did it at the Stadium, I’ve always wanted to score here.
“The stadium’s just beautiful, isn’t it? I drive past it all the time and nearly crash looking at it, it’s magic.”
“I scored one away and my first goal meant a lot, but to score at home in front of our fans, and the context of how that game was going – 3-2 with 10 minutes to go – it meant a lot. It was special.”