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The Draft: Day 4 - We fight it out to make SAFC's best second tier side of the last 25 years

We're battling it out to create the best Sunderland squad we can from players that have played for us in the Championship/First Division in the last 25 years. Today, we announce our 7th and 8th round picks.

Derby County v Sunderland Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

On Day 3 of the Roker Report draft we saw a number of the remaining big names left in the pool removed, with the likes of Gavin McCann, Dwight Yorke, John Kay and Nyron Nosworthy quickly snapped up.

Rounds seven and eight are going to be difficult, with the pickings now incredibly slim. Who can take the initiative and flesh out their squad ahead of the final throws of this competition?


Round Seven

Damian: 49 - Stern John

Stern John only managed four goals in his short time with us but arguably has the best name of any player listed since the Great War. No-nonsense John will chastise defenders that dare challenge my forwards and he might score a goal or two while he's at it.

Fishpaste: 50 - Tobias Hysen

I always considered it a shame that we never saw more of Toby Hysen. I know he was unsettled and homesick, but when he was on form, boy was he fun to watch.

Strong dribbler, powerful runner, and plenty of quality in that left foot of his. I remember one particularly fine goal against Leicester that just oozed quality.

We are into round seven here, so players of real quality are becoming thin on the ground, so I think he's a good pick-up for my left-hand side.

Rory: 51 - Thomas Myhre

Any goalkeeper who played the majority of a title winning season is always going to be a great choice. In 2004/05, Thomas Myhre made 31 appearances as Mick McCarthy's side claimed the trophy and he was as dependable as they come, with strong reflexes and a commanding presence.

It's unfair that he didn't get a crack at the Premier League with Sunderland, as his performances warranted it and when you look at Kelvin Davis' displays after him, you really have to question what was going through the mind of Mic Mac.

So with Nyron in the heart of my defence, Micky Gray watching the left and a big Norwegian between the sticks, my rear guard is shaping up nicely.

Graham: 52 - Grant Leadbitter

To complete my midfield I’ve gone with Grant Leadbitter - he's Sunderland through and through and possesses a keen eye for goal. Although not remembered as one of the greats, nine goals from the centre of midfield under Roy Keane was nothing to be sniffed at.

With Brace behind him doing the dirty work, I would put faith in the Wearside-born man to ghost into the box and get me goals from the middle.

Gav: 53 - Dean Whitehead

Whilst some of you may scoff at this selection it's important to remember that in the two seasons Dean Whitehead spent in the Championship with Sunderland, on both occasions we won the division. In 04/05 he was voted Player's player of the year and in 06/07, as our captain, he was named in the PFA Team of the Year.

Oh, and he just achieved promotion from that league again, aged 34, with Huddersfield.

Leeds United v Sunderland Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Don't take Dean Whitehead lightly - when it comes to Championship pedigree he has it in abundance.

Henchard: 54 - Clive Clarke

I needed a left-back for my 4-4-2 and with Micky Gray being such a stalwart during our second-tier campaigns, the talent pool is somewhat limited. Clarke Played 4 games for Sunderland, but what a quadruple they were. Roy Keane was a big fan.

He deserves his place in our second-tier shootout just to remind ourselves exactly how random Sunderland's transfer activity has been during the past quarter century.

Walshie: 55 - Joachim Bjorklund

Joachim Bjorklund has one of the nicest signatures I've ever seen. It is almost like he is painting a work of art with every stroke. The pen simply glides over the paper with a panache that is something you would not expect from a hardened Scandinavian centre-half. It is a beautiful monogram with the 'j' effortlessly blending into the 'b' to create a simple, yet alluring, design.

Like many of his fellow countrymen, the Swede possesses a smouldering stare and eyes so blue you could swim in them. Weird, considering he kind of looks like Mark Wahlberg if you squint hard enough.

What's that? Why have you put him in your team? Oh, was that not a good enough reason? Alright, he was a decent centre half I guess. Him and Phil Babb worked well together for a bit I think.

Tom: 56 - Darren Ward

Darren Ward was a very good goalkeeper, and I was genuinely disappointed that he wasn’t given a go in the Premier League. Don’t get me wrong, Craig Gordon is a great player, but Ward was class that season we won the Championship, and I just felt he deserved a shot at the top flight.

Sunderland v Derby - Premier League Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

A really nice bloke off the pitch, Ward was consistent, hard-working and rarely put a foot, or hand, wrong. He fits in nicely with the professional, hard-working line-up I’ve cobbled together.


Round Eight

Tom: 57 - Darren Byfield

We are running out of forward options rather quickly and this was quite simply a panic pick. Big Kevin Kyle was my other realistic option, and I just didn’t want a big sauntering forward in my side which is based on graft and energy.

Byfield isn’t a great, or indeed even prolific, but his pace would serve this side relatively well. Both he and Phil Gray were energetic and had relatively decent goal returns - I would be hoping for my midfield to pick up some slack of course, and with Rae in behind you’d be hoping that would be the case.

Walshie: 58 - Kevin Kyle

Strikers are like rare gemstones. Many have searched to find the perfect one, the one to propel you to glory and in Kevin Kyle I have found the one. Nine-foot tall, crafted solely out of girders and powered entirely by Irn Bru - this is the man I want to lead that storming front line.

You can have your Kevin Phillips' and your Niall Quinn's but can they look themselves in the mirror and say that they dumped out former BDO World Championship semi-finalist Richard Veenstra on an incredible run to the third round of the darts Scottish Open? No they can't.

Have they ever worked as a baggage handler at Stranraer ferry port? No they haven't. Have they ever worked as a storeman on the former Regina Baltica ferry? No they haven't. Have they ever been referred to as a "good lad" by colleagues on said ferry? No they haven't.

He may never have mastered the offside trap, he may have the first touch of a small elephant but Big Kev Kyle is coming waltzing into this dream team to leather in Sean Thornton crosses. Welcome aboard Big Kev.

Henchard: 59 - John Byrne

Byrne will always be remembered for that run of FA Cup goals in '92. He should have scored in the first half of the final of course but his copybook remains largely unblotted for striking in every round prior to that.

The mulletted Budgie was a skillful player who could run with a ball and make things happen. We never quite saw the best of him after the cup run and had we signed him earlier he would have been an epic foil for Marco.

Byrne is incredible well thought of by fans from everywhere he's been, especially Sunderland, Chelsea and Brighton where he now works as a radio commentator.

Gav: 60 - Gordon Armstrong

He might have looked a bit like Rocky Dennis but Gordon Armstrong is Sunderland's 7th highest ever appearance maker - a boyhood fan who grew up in Newcastle and wasn't afraid to let the other kids know it.

He played in our now-legendary 1990 play-off semi final win over the mags and scored some memorable goals. With my team lacking an aerial presence from set pieces I'm bringing Gordon in to not only shore us up in our own box but to add goals in the other.

Graham: 61 - Darren Williams

Although I would have ideally preferred someone with more physical presence at centre half, the more I thought about it, the more Daz suited my team.

Sunderland v Leicest

Again, another player local to the North East, he loves the club and would never let anyone down. Choosing Daz Williams means I can add to the ethos of having an energetic team with impeccable work rate, sprinked with some genuine quality.

Rory: 62 - Liam Lawrence

Thinking of my team in a tactical sense, this makes it very strong. I have Niall Quinn up front, a titan in the air, so he needs crosses banging in to him. With Johnston and Gray on the left, I need someone who can also get down the opposite flank and provide from there. Liam Lawrence is ideal.

For someone who cost less than £200k, Lawrence was an absolute bargain for Sunderland. In his debut season (2004/05) he scored 6 goals as well as creating an absolute raft of them. Away to Wigan, in a huge promotion six pointer, Lawrence used his dribbling abilities to just about keep the ball in play and tee up Marcus Stewart, sending the away end into raptures and effectively putting Sunderland back in the Premier League.

He also wore Tesco jeans on Soccer AM once. Banter.

Fishpaste: 63 - Graham Kavanagh

What use is it having players like Summerbee and Hysen out wide if you have no one to get the ball out to them?

Like Hysen, we didn't see as much of Kavanagh as we'd have liked, but he was a quality distributor of the ball from central areas and had bags of Championship pedigree.

Good player, good leader, good pick.

Damian: 64 - Terry Butcher

Terry Butcher is a name synonymous with hard tackles and bloody bandages. The man was a warrior in the back line and it was a foolish man indeed that charged headlong into a tussle with him. Between him and Bally my squad is 'ard as f***ing nails.