Aiden O'Brien is relishing the prospect of causing 'chaos' alongside Charlie Wyke in Sunderland's promotion run-in.

O'Brien returned from injury to score the only goal in the Black Cats' win against relegation struggliers Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium at the weekend.

And he has proved himself an excellent foil for Wyke, whose 22 goals have powered the Wearsiders to within touching distance of top spot with ten games to go.

Sunderland stay third after their win at Rovers, two points behind second-placed Peterborough with a game in hand, and cut the gap on leaders Hull to three points while retaining two games in hand of the Tigers.

O'Brien has repaid head coach Lee Johnson's faith in him, with the former Millwall forward saying: "We've got a good bond, me and the manager.

"Not just him but Macca [Aiden McGeady] as well.

"I know what they want from me and that's key.

"It helps me as a player to understand exactly what I need to do when I go on the pitch and that's the relationship we have.

"It's kind of shown with me and Chaz [Wyke] up top, we know exactly what we need to do and we're causing defenders chaos.

"Hopefully we can keep doing that for the last ten games."

Sunderland are now undefeated in ten league games, winning eight of those, meaning they have collected 26 points from a possible 30.

O'Brien said: "We've got to do what we're doing, listen to the coaching staff and the manager and the instructions he gives game-by-game.

"And just believe in ourselves and what we're doing.

"Don't change anything or put the pressure on ourselves, just keep doing exactly what we're doing that's had us ten games unbeaten.

"We can stick to that now, try and extend that and play football with a smile on our face - because when we do that we're brilliant.

"We've got that fight now, as well as being a nice footballing team.

"We've got the balance, so ten games .... I'm actually looking forward to it, bring it on."

O'Brien struck five minutes before half-time, giving his marker the slip to meet a McGeady corner on the volley.

But he admits that his finish was anything but a thing of beauty - it went in off his shin and bobbled into the bottom left-hand corner.

"Absolutely off my shin," he smiled. "Horrible - but we'll take them!

"It was a brilliant way to return. It's always nice to score as a striker and even sweeter that it made it a 1-0 win away from home.

"It's brilliant. "

O'Brien could have ended up with a brace but was denied by the fingertips of Rovers keeper Anssi Jaakkola in the second half, although the referee awarded a goal-kick.

"I was disappointed with myself for the second one," said O'Brien. "McGeady cut it back, Charlie missed it and I've left-footed it and the keeper's just tipped it over.

"I'm disappointed with that but we take the three points and we go again.

"It's all about wins - it doesn't matter who scores, who sets them up, as long as we get the three points weekly now, that's all that matters.

"It's come down to the last ten games and it's crucial we stick together as a team, which we have done throughout the season, and we just keep grinding those wins out.

"That's what it's about at this stage of the season."

While Sunderland's fine form continued, it was a fourth successive defeat for Joey Barton's Rovers who slipped to next-to-bottom of the table.

O'Brien said: "Bristol are fighting for their lives.

"They're down at the bottom and it's always going to be tough when people are fighting against relegation, especially at their patch as well.

"The manager is probably under pressure as well, so it was a really tough game and to come away with three points - we're delighted with it."

With no second goal to kill the game off, Sunderland needed Lee Burge to make an excellent late save to deny Rovers sub David Tutonda, preserving the points and his 18th clean sheet of the season.

O'Brien said: "That's vital, because with them keeping clean sheets all we've got to do is score one goal.

"It makes it easier for me, Chaz, Geads, Goochy [Lynden Gooch] or whoever is up top - we don't have to score two or three.

"It's been brilliant for them and give them props, the defenders and the keepers for all those clean sheets."