Sunderland AFC Half-Season Player Grades: Part I

Gareth Copley

Another of our annual traditions, we are dishing out our player grades for the season so far. There's obviously plenty time for the lads to turn this around in the next few months too, but for half of the squad, here's what we have decreed.

2. Phil Bardsley

It's been a difficult season for Bardsley. Plagued with injury problems to start with and then once he does come into the side he didn't really do a good enough job to say to anyone "this is my position". Craig Gardner often outshone him at right-back, and would expect this to be Bardsley's last on Wearside as he hasn't impressed at all this year. Grade: D (Last Season: D)

3. Danny Rose

Rose has perhaps been given a little more benefit of doubt really as when he arrived nobody really had any expectations for him. Now he's been magnificent for us, and quite possibly our player of the half season so far. Regardless of what we thought we knew about him, he's been bloody brilliant. Signing him to a full-time contract must be the clubs top priority. Grade: A (Last Season: N/A)

5. Wes Brown

Another season pretty much written off for Wes Brown. You wouldn't be surprised to see him call it a day sooner rather than later. With him not playing a single minute for us this season we can't really give him a grade. Grade: N/A (Last Season: B)

6. Lee Cattermole

Cattermole has picked up where he left off last season and proven to be a really good midfielder and a really good captain for the club. Anyone doubting the impact Cattermole has on the team need only look to this recent period where he's been missing through injury. No matter what combination of players we use to fill in, none of them are coming close to do doing so. Catts has been fantastic. Grade: A (Last Season: B)

7. Seb Larsson

This season hasn't gone quite as well as last season for Seb. Perhaps he's been hampered by his new position in the middle of the park? At times he's looked comfortable there, but more often than not he's just looked a little lost. There's no doubting we need to fit him in due to his ability from set-pieces but where we do so remains a huge problem. Needs to up his performance in the second half of the season and make himself indispensable. Grade: C (Last Season: A)

8. Craig Gardner

Gardner started the season in superb form at right-back, and even took Player Of The Month honours on this site. Since his move into midfield though it's been a bit hit and miss. At times he's completely anonymous, and at others he's looking surprisingly good. Certainly seems to have developed quite a decent freekick too. Fact remains though this would be an "A" grade if he was a full-time right-back. Grade: B (Last Season: C)

9. Fraizer Campbell

If it wasn't for Louis Saha, there'd be a fair argument for Campbell to be labelled the most ineffectual player in the squad. He hadn't impressed at all when coming off the bench this season until recently, but hasn't really done enough to warrant a start. Despite a brief flicker, it looks like the end of the road for Campbell. Grade: D (Last Season: C)

10. Connor Wickham

Last season we pondered whether or not Martin O'Neill could get the best of Wickham. It seems this season that despite a rough start which saw him kept far, far away from the action that he might just be pushing himself into the first team picture permanently. He's looked very good in relief of Steven Fletcher, and could well form an exciting partnership with him. His all around central striker play seems to have improved too. Grade: B (Last Season: D)

11. James McFadden

Well at least he's alive. In general though he's bee a complete waste of time, space and money - no matter how little that money actually is. Just pointless. Grade: F (Last Season: N/A)

12. Matt Kilgallon

Kilgallon is a weird one. He'll go from good solid games like Manchester City to really poor ones like Norwich away. Overall though you have to look at why he's been largely kept out the side - it's because he's not quite as great as everyone likes to make out. I'd be surprised if he gets a new deal in the summer. Can't fault him for trying though. Grade: C (Last Season: B)

13. Jordan Pickford

Yet to play for us, or play anywhere as surprisingly a loan move hasn't materlialised. Looked decent preseason mind you in the limited action he saw. Grade: N/A (Last Season: N/A)

14. Jack Colback

Colback has been on the receiving end of some abuse this season, and while he's been below the form he showed last season, it's a little unwarranted. Generally this season Colback hasn't quite got his game going and seems to be lacking a little vision and creativity. Probably just due a lengthy rest really. Grade: B (Last Season: A)

15. David Vaughan

Vaughan hasn't played anywhere near as much as we imagined he would this season and it's probably surprised him too, especially with Lee Cattermole out. In limited cameo appearances so far this season he's done ok, but little more than that, which all in all leaves you wondering if he's got much more he can offer? He's likely to be shipped out as soon as a decent offer comes in. It's been an odd year though for Vaughan, no doubt about that. Grade: D (Last Season: C)

16. John O'Shea

Despite doing a statistical piece which showed the improvement of John O'Shea this season, to the eye he still hasn't looked particularly great. It's almost as if he's just starting to show his age a little bit. Mistakes are creeping in, he doesn't seem to be quite the leader he was. It's going to be an interesting second half to the season for O'Shea - which could decide his future. Grade: C (Last Season: B)

17. Ji Dong-Won

Ji has made far, far less contribution than anyone expected this season. I didn't think he'd come straight into the first team, but one or two appearances from the bench would have been about right. Looks like he's set to leave on loan in January, would anyone be surprised if he didn't come back? Disappointing. Grade: N/A (Last Season: D)

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