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Sunderland AFC Half-Season Report Cards: Part II

That's right Nicklas, you're in this one too.
That's right Nicklas, you're in this one too.

So yesterday on the site we presented you with the first part of our half-season report cards (click here if you missed it), running through the squad from Gordon to Dong-Won and everyone in between.

Now, it's time for part two, in which we'll go from Meyler to Bendtner, and of course those in between. Several of these higher numbered players are of course squad players and youngsters, so it will be a difficult one to judge, but we'll provide some thoughts on what we think the immediate future holds for them.

Here we go then, let's get the rest of the half-season reports dished out...

18. David Meyler

Meyler's been in the same boat as Fraizer Campbell in that he's been desperately unlucky with injuries, severely hampering his progress. That said, we can now afford to leave him out with him being easily 4th/5th choice in the central midfield berth. He's only appeared in a few minutes here and there this season, so I think it would be a little unfair to give him a grade, low as it would be purely because of playing time. A loan to the Championship in January, even if only for a few months might do him the world of good. Grade: N/A

19. Titus Bramble

It's been a pretty terrible year for Titus. He was dreadful in the pre-season, giving away a penalty every other game it felt, and luckily he wasn't allowed to carry that into the start of the season as he was ousted by Anton Ferdinand. Then of course came the post-Norwich defeat touchy-feely-ness for which he still awaits a court date. This really should be his last action in SAFC colours, and probably would have had it not been for a recent injury crisis. Ok, he did alright against Blackburn who offered little to no threat, and again against Spurs, but Michael Turner and January can't come along soon enough for me, as guilty or not, we shouldn't be brought into disrepute like this. Grade: F

20. Kieren Westwood

When he signed I recall thinking the move was somewhat pointless. Gordon was coming back, Mignolet was a fine and able replacement whilst Trevor Carson was perfectly able to warm the bench as he has done most of his career. Well, whisper it, but having seen all our keepers in action now, you could make a very strong case that Westwood is actually the best of all three. He's been in great form since stepping in for Mignolet, and pulled off some fine saves in there too. Notably against Manchester United and away at Wolves. Great signing, and playing very well. Delighted with him. If I was to nit-pick, I'd say he could do better dealing with back-passes, but again that's a very small flaw. Grade: B

21. Oumare Tounkara

Another many will have forgotten about, but he did get the odd appearance in pre-season. You wonder what's going on with the lad having been here a while now. I recall being told by an Oldham (where Tounkara was once on loan) season ticket holder at my last place of work "He's a big fast bastard. Causes problems, doesn't score much"... Martin, we have you a new Heskey. Please don't sign the actual one. The odd Cup game would be nice for him, although a loan to the lower leagues looks much more likely. I doubt he'll ever pull on our shirt with any real purpose. Grade: N/A

22. Simon Mignolet

Started the season quite well, but seemed to fade following the home game against Newcastle, where he was at fault for the only goal of the game. Mignolet still seems to defy all sorts of logic for me. You worried about his flappy hands against Stoke City, and he was solid. Then just when you think he's got it sussed, he seems to falter once again. With consistency and a bit more maturity, I think he'll be a cracking keeper, but for the foreseeable future he's well behind Westwood. Grade: C

23. James McClean

There was a bit of buzz around his signing from Derry City. It was widely noted a few teams were interested in him, and the YouTube highlight reels seemed to do him justice. There was also rave reviews of him from the reserve side, and when things were seemingly out of control under Bruce, you had to wonder if he was tempted to throw McClean in. There was certainly little he could do to make the situation worse. He never afforded the Irishman the chance, but thankfully Martin O'Neill did, and thus far he's looked the part. A great cameo against Blackburn had us all singing his praises, whilst further outings have been alright, but certainly not bad. Could well be one of the finds of the season. Grade: B

24. Trevor Carson

I don't want to diss Carson particularly as he's been a good servant to the club, but time is surely up for him, and you'd think he knows it too. He's never managed a loan at any particularly high level, and should be on his way out sooner rather than later with better keepers ahead and behind him. That said, he's never played for us. Perhaps he's awesome. Having seen him a few times for the reserves side though, I can't see it happening. Grade: N/A

26. Jordan Cook

I had some hopes for Cook pre-season. Seemed to have filled out a bit in the way Jordan Henderson suddenly did, and look what happened to him. He hasn't made the breakthrough yet, but I'd keep him around for next season in the hope it does. For now though, a loan is needed for the tricky front-man. Grade: N/A

27. Ahmed Elmohamady

Ah Ahmed, the most Marmite of all the Marmite players to ever grace Sunderland, dividing opinion like no other. He's speedy, he's good in the air, he's got lots of energy... His crossing is inconsistent at best, he's awful defensively... These are the usual arguments, and unfortunately I fall into the latter category. I can certainly see both sides of the argument, but he's just not really cutting it this season when he really should have pushed on. A useful squad player, but not one to pin our hopes on. I don't like Marmite either. Grade: D

28. Stephane Sessegnon

Overall, I'd say so far this season that Sess has been fantastic. Especially when cutting in from the left wing when for a few weeks he along with Bendtner and Wickham seemed to have formed a very dangerous threesome. However, through the middle he seems less effective, and perhaps need to stick to beating players for fun (as he often does) and playing in someone else as his shooting accuracy seems to be a little off at the moment. All things considered though, he's still one of, if not the most important player on our books. Grade: B

31. Ryan Noble

Someone give the lad a game! Scoring like there's no tomorrow for the reserves, he's looked magnificent, and should be given more chances than he's had. At this juncture in his career, a loan probably wouldn't be the wisest move. He needs to stick around and be battering at Martin O'Neill's door to say "give me a chance!"... He's certainly earned one. The odd three minute appearances he's made so far aren't really enough to judge him. Hoepfully he gets a bit more of a go in 2012. Grade: N/A

40. Louis Laing

Laing hasn't played all that often, and he might feel a little narked that Steve Bruce denied him a loan, then didn't actually do anything with the lad. For those who haven't seen him in action yet, he's superb. All he needs is a little bulking up and a little toughening up as he's one of the most complete defenders I think the club has ever brought through. A great range of passing, good in the tackle, strong in the air. Just unfortunately he's about 6'2 and a similarly numbered weight. One for the future. Get out on loan lad. Grade: N/A

42. John Egan

Occasionally on the bench during the dying embers of the Bruce-era, I've heard nothing but good things about Egan, despite not really recalling much of him with my own eyes. I'm afraid on that respect I can't really comment, but it's good that more and more young lads are being involved in the match-day squad at least. Perhaps a loan candidate too? Grade: N/A

52. Nicklas Bendtner

I was as delighted as anyone else when the ego landed on Wearside at the end of the transfer window. I always thought he was the type of player who could do great things given a run in the side. That seemed to be true at first with a stellar first month at the club, but it's been all down hill since then, on and off the pitch. On it, he's looked lazy, and not particularly bothered. I've also never seen a so called striker spend less time in or around the box. His jollies with Lee Cattermole were also somewhat regrettable, but at least he's written a letter of apology, unlike his Teeside Tipple Partner. At the moment, Bendtner, The B52, seems to be bombing himself out of the club. I hope this is only a blip, but how long does a blip last before it just becomes rubbish? One to be re-assessed in January. Grade: C


And that's everyone. If you want to comment, commend, criticise and so forth, just do it in the comments. We'd love to hear from you.

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