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Top Ten: Your Favourite Sunderland Strikers Of The Last Decade (Part One)

We asked, you voted - which Sunderland striker of the last decade is the favourite of the Roker Report readers? We go from ten to six...

Ross Kinnaird

10 - 58 votes, 3% - Steven Fletcher

When twelve million quid was set aside to secure the signing of Steven Fletcher from relegated Wolverhampton Wanderers in the summer of 2012, Sunderland fans were understandably optimistic about the future ahead with Martin O'Neill's top target leading the line. Having suffered from some horrific decision making by the club in allowing top strikers to leave the club in the year previous, it was felt that the future would be bright with a proven goalscorer now in the side - an opinion backed up when Fletcher scored twice on his debut for the club, away to Swansea.

His first season at the club was largely positive - Fletch won Player of the Month in September of 2012 and, although his season was cut short due to injury, he finished the 2012-2013 campaign with twelve goals to his name.

It would be fair to say that the last year or so has been disappointing for the player. His constant battles with injury (and hair loss) have seen him net only five times in twenty-five league games, although his header in the 2-1 home win against the Mags last season will live long in the memory.

What the future holds for Steven Fletcher is anyone's guess. He's clearly a very talented goalscorer - especially inside the eighteen yard box - but his application is at times questionable. His performance at home to Stoke a few weeks back showed what he is truly capable of if motivated and confident and the hope going forward is that he can begin to show why we paid so much money for him just a few years back.

9 - 61 votes, 3% - Jozy Altidore

Hello to our sixty-one American readers.

8 - 62 votes, 3% - Marcus Stewart

Many Sunderland fans will remember Marcus Stewart for being brought into the club on that fateful day which basically sealed the inevitable departure of Peter Reid from the club but it's easy to forget that his was an integral part of the side when we dropped into the Championship and attempted to rebuild and regain our status as a top flight club under Mick McCarthy.

My top Marcus Stewart moment was definitely the early goal - and winner - that he scored in the 1-0 win away to Wigan Athletic which essentially won us the league title and sent us back to the Premier League. It was only a tap in from a few yards out but it ensured that 7500 travelling fans were sent home happy. It was a shame that he left the club at the end of that season because the strikers signed to replace him and play for us in the top flight - namely Andy Gray, Jon Stead and Anthony Le Tallec - were all absolutely shite. He was allowed to leave mainly because of his age - he was thirty-two at the time - and the thought he'd not be at the required level to perform in the Premier League. Daft really, as he carried on playing for another six years in the Football League before retiring fit and healthy. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but I wish we'd given him another year - that fifteen point season might have been slightly more bearable by not having Anthony Le Tallec heading up our top goalscorers list.

There's a few Marcus Stewart goals on this video here - a proper six-yard poacher.

Joint 7th place - 64 votes, 4% - Michael Bridges and Danny Welbeck

When Michael Bridges returned to the club in 2004 it was seen as a fairly harmless move for a player unwanted at Bolton that, despite suffering from some horrific injuries, was still fairly young at twenty-six years old and could give us something extra up front. I remember going to New Ferens Park to see his first game back, for the reserves, and there was a decent crowd there to welcome the lad back to the club that gave him his start in football. The fact he'd turned out for Newcastle earlier in the year was quickly forgotten.

I view the whole second-coming of Michael Bridges with a tinge of sadness though. It showed that a player who left the club initially with the world at his feet - I fully believe that after that first season at Leeds he was set for a future in the England national team - had returned a different player. Bridges had been injured horrifically playing in the Champions League against Besiktas in 2000 and was never the same player afterwards, suffering mentally from the fear of being injured again. That said, he's a product of the Sunderland 'system' and we always love to see local lads doing well (unless you're Jack Colback).

His compatriot in seventh place, Danny Welbeck, is arguably the only player on this list who went on to do bigger and better things upon leaving the club. Now of Arsenal, Welbeck has gone on to become a regular for his country, earning a big money move from Manchester United to the Gunners this summer gone.

Welbeck was often found playing on the left of midfield when a Sunderland player as he was behind Darren Bent and Asamoah Gyan in the pecking order but found his opportunities of playing up front increased when Bent left the club in January of 2011. This saw his form earn him a call up to the England squad for the game against Ghana at Wembley Stadium, and he's never looked back, really. Sunderland can be credited in large part to the fairly successful career he's had since leaving the club having given him the opportunity to play in the top flight as a young player.

Welbeck's first goal for the club was probably his most memorable, completing the scoring in the 3-0 mauling away at Chelsea. He's always made up for his shortcomings by putting in the extra work off the ball and I suppose that is why he was so liked by the Sunderland fans - God knows we love a trier. It was inevitable that he'd end up going back to his parent club at the end of that season having had such a worthwhile period when a Sunderland player but, If you believe what you read, we weren't all that far from re-signing him when he was made available this summer, only pipped by Arsenal on deadline day.

Pop back tomorrow to see who made your top five.

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