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Bolton Wanderers Vs Sunderland: Player Ratings

As we do every week we recap and review the performances of every Sunderland player with our ratings. Here's some further thoughts on what happened today in the FA Cup Third Round tie with Bolton Wanderers.

Clive Brunskill

Simon Mignolet - 6

The Mig didn't really have all that much to do today, apart from pick the ball out of his goal twice. Fans in the stand could hear him screaming at Cuellar to clear the ball for the first goal, although he arguably should have done better with the punch for the second. Not helped by his defence at all really.

Phil Bardsley - 6

His passing was, at times, terrible, but at least he 'put a shift in' again. Nowhere near goal with his ambitious shooting policy, he looked more assured at centre back following Cuellar's injury than either of the two that started there did.

Carlos Cuellar - 3

A shocking performance from the Spaniard. Who knows what he was thinking when he rolled the ball across the 18-yard box for the opening goal. His communication was poor, his passing was poor. He was poor. Hints on the radio that the hamstring injury that he picked up were him 'not fancying it'. Conspiracy theorist Chris at the ready, please.

Titus Bramble - 3

Had a competition with his fellow centre back for worst performer. Tried his best to win it, could only manage a draw. Titus didn't have a good day at the office at all, having been drafted in ahead of Matt Kilgallon, who was dropped for also being poo. He was lucky not to cost us a goal when running into Mignolet, and was generally poor throughout.

Danny Rose - 6

Some have been saying it was a gamble to play him. It clearly didn't pay off as he was forced off with a hamstring injury after only 20 minutes. We'll cross our fingers that it isn't anything too serious.

Seb Larsson - 6

Not the Swede's worst game in red and white by any means, but for a player that we know can deliver a set-piece with astonishing quality, he has to really up his game when it comes to corners. Sunderland had 15 today, of which Larsson took at least half, but his delivery just wasn't up to scratch, and it's not the first time.

David Vaughan - 9

David Vaughan, remember him? Chosen ahead of Jack Colback today, the little Welshman was at the heart of everything that we did well. He organised the midfield and looked positive, forcing Lonergan into a good save in the first half. With Cattermole still on the sidelines, and Colback probably deputising for Rose at left-back next time out, Vaughan must surely have played his way into next week's starting line-up here.

Craig Gardner - 7

A solid performance from Gardner in a more attacking role, something that we haven't been able to say too often in the past. He got forward well and made a few opportunities, although it's ironic that he scored - an incredible 25-yard strike that's become something of a trademark for him - when he had been moved to right back.

Adam Johnson - 6

A frustrating afternoon for the winger, who teased a few decent balls into the box, but no-one was there to put them away. Not his worst performance by a long shot, and a definite improvement on last week. Long may it continue.

James McClean - 6

Very similar to Johnson in many ways. Gave the ball away cheaply in the first half, and still needs to work on his decision making at times. Solid though, if not spectacular.

Steven Fletcher - 7

On another day, Fletcher could have had a hat-trick, and picked up the man of the match award. As it was, Andy Lonergan put in a one-off performance to keep the Scot at bay with at least three excellent saves. Fletcher worked hard for the cause, as he always does, and might be slightly disappointed not to be on the scoresheet today.

Jack Colback - 6

Filled in well at left-back for the injured Danny Rose, and linked up well with David Vaughan throughout. O'Neill won't have wanted him to play for so long after dropping him to the bench, but we can probably expect to see him back in at left back next time around.

Connor Wickham - 8

To sum it up, changed the game for us. Cuellar's injury was something of a blessing in disguise as it gave O'Neill the chance to change things around, and Wickham caused Bolton problems that they simply didn't have before his introduction. Strong and willing to put himself on the line, he was rewarded with a goal, and looked very sharp up top alongside Fletcher.

Man Of The Match: David Vaughan

It's today's midfield maestro that picks up the award in my eyes, thanks to the way that he ran the midfield having not started a Sunderland game in such a long time. Hopefully this performance will see him push on and stake a place in the team. And if not, then he's just put himself firmly in the shop window of a club that needs a solid central midfielder.

Connor Wickham pushed him close, such was his impact following his introduction, but it's Vaughan's day in my eyes.

We'll have more reaction and thoughts on today's game in our Match Stream, HERE.

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