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The Draft: Day 5 - We fight it out to make SAFC's best second tier side of the last 25 years

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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 9th and 10th round picks.

John Oster of Sunderland celebrates his goal Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Round Nine

Damian: 65 - Gary Owers

Gary Owers grabs the vacant midfield spot next to Bally for both his longevity with the club and the fact that he managed to notch 25 goals over the years with us. Not a spectacular player by any means, he was dependable and you know something? He GETS what I'm trying to do here. He just gets it.

Fishpaste: 66 - Marton Fulop

I felt comfortable leaving my goalkeeper pick this late because it’s a position in which we have had plenty of quality over the years, and feel vindicated by being able to pick up Marton Fulop at number 66.

The Hungarian was probably a Premier League level goalkeeper but played a few games in the second tier for Roy Keane. He’ll do for me.

Rory: 67 - Liam Miller

Completing my four man midfield is Liam Miller, one of the deadline day six and a man who scored possibly the most important goal of the 06/07 season. The delicate, flicked, last minute header that Miller scored at home to Derby sparked wild celebrations, with it being right at the death against a promotion rival.

Athlone Town v Sunderland - Pre Season Friendly Photo by Patrick Bolger/Getty Images

With 30 appearances in that season, it's fair to say that Miller was an important part of Roy Keane's charge into the top flight and I'm sure he'll serve me equally well. As long as he isn't late for training.

Graham: 68 - Darren Holloway

Another local lad, and another player with unquestionable work-rate.

Part of the side that racked up 90 points in 97/98, Holloway had the ability to move into centre midfield if needed and is, like many others in this team, versatile.

Gav: 69 - Steven Caldwell

Whilst I'm not really sure many Sunderland supporters will have redeeming memories of Caldwell's time at the club he was practically an ever-present in the side that won promotion back to the Premier League in 2005 and won the title. Alongside Gary Breen he formed part of a central defensive pairing that shipped just 41 goals all season.

It's important to remember that we are judging these players on their time here as Championship players - Caldwell was very important to this club moving out of the second tier and into the Premier League.

Alongside my other centre half, Jonny Evans, I'm not expecting my side to be conceding many goals with those two at the heart of the Sunderland defence.

Henchard: 70 - Derek Ferguson

A creative midfielder who made over 60 appearances for Sunderland. He cost Terry Butcher £250,000 and was initially an exciting signing for a Roker crowd devoid of creativity to marvel at arriving during the big spending summer of 1993.

Highly rated at Rangers, Ferguson had fallen out with Gers' boss Graham Souness before moving to Hearts. Clearly a good player, Ferguson suffered like so many in Butcher's directionless team

Walshie: 71 - John Mullin

I don’t really remember much about John Mullin but it seems like everyone else does. He’s going in because that was the first midfielder that sprang to mind after someone else took Graham Kavanagh.

He was good during the 1998/99 season, right?

Tom: 72 - Stan Varga

Admittedly he was much better in his first spell with the club in the Premier League; however, Stanislav Varga was undoubtedly a very good defender and will fit nicely into this side. My back three of Craddock, Butler and Varga are all extremely solid defenders who are all physical, and strong in the air too.

Stoke City v Sunderland Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Varga perfectly compliments the other two central defenders in my no-nonsense back 3, and they would be a dominant unit in the Championship as well as providing a threat from set-pieces.


Round Ten

Tom: 73 - Carl Robinson

Yet another grafter in my side. Nothing special, but worked hard for the team and rarely put a foot wrong. Loved a good challenge, and kept possession quite nicely. Much like the rest of my team he won’t set the world alight, but he will want to win and will give everything he has for the cause.

Looking back, Robinson really did have a desire to succeed, and was a major part of our 04/05 promotion winning side - bagging 4 goals that campaign. A handy player to have on the pitch in the old First Division.

Walshie: 74 - Gary Breen

If you sift through the 2004/05 season review DVD, aside from awkward pieces to camera for Carl Robinson and Stephen Elliott, you’ll get to an interview with our stalwart captain Gary Breen. Almost in a gloating fashion, Breen proclaimed that if you weren’t playing in Premier League you were "simply making up the numbers".

Alas, for that sexy free agent during the 2002 World Cup he only managed one season in the Premier League since that statement and that consisted of going down with 15 points. He was pretty shite and, if I’m honest, he’s only here because I couldn’t think of anyone else to go in defence.

Sunderland v Fulham Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Oh, wait, remember when he got sent off for a hilarious handball at Man City? That’s why he’s included here - he knows real banter.

Henchard: 75 - David Kelly

David Kelly was crap for Sunderland. But he had been class for the Mags. And Peter Reid bizarrely played him out of position. Two goals in thirty-four games. He cost a million quid and did help us to promotion in 1996. He also looked slightly deranged.

Gav: 76 - John Oster

"He used to be shite but now he's alright!"

Once we dropped into the Championship, Oster came into his own and on the right hand side of my midfield I'll be expecting him to work well in front of John Kay and get the balls into the box that my forwards need to win us games.

I think this is a shrewd pick. Whilst Carlos Edwards is probably the best right midfielder that anyone could have selected in this process, Oster is a close second and I think he'll do well in my attack-minded Sunderland lineup.

Graham: 77 - Neill Collins

Far from a fashionable name, but for a young boy from Troon he’s done pretty damn well to achieve two promotions in his career, one of them with us of course in his first professional season.

Dependable and imposing, he'll play the big man role at the centre of my defence, allowing the more tidy Darren Williams to clean up and play the ball out to the talented midfield in front of him.

Rory: 78 - Stephen Wright

I don't really have many memories of Stephen Wright apart from his lugs and a canny goal he once scored against Watford in 2003. Part of a promotion side and a one that finished 3rd the year before, the man who shares a name with a BBC Radio 2 DJ was a good Championship servant for us.

Hardly glamorous, but solid enough.

Fishpaste: 79 - Kenny Cunningham

I’ve always considered Cunningham to be something of a Championship Steve Bould for us. Nowhere near the quality, of course, but he arrived with bags of experience and leadership before having to retire through injury.

It’s also easy to forget that he is someone who Roy Keane made captain of the club, and character endorsements really don’t come much higher than that. Good player, good leader, good character. Will compliment the quality I have further forward very well indeed.

Damian: 80 - Danny Simpson

You know what I need? A precious right back, rare as diamonds they are. You know who I found? Danny Simpson. Make of that what you will but Simpson was on loan with us for a brief period, entitling me to select him for this squad. Is he stellar? No. Is he better than many of the dross players we've had at that position? Absolutely. I'll take his Champions title and presume it makes him an awesome player - that's how football works, right?