Heading into week seven of the Roker Report Power Rankings it was hard to see any dramatic changes affecting our chart.
Our burgeoning young superstars sat atop the pile with our best new signings completing the top six with experienced reliable pros rounding out the top ten.
Coming off a dominant 4-1 victory against Rochdale where Sunderland finally fielded a team capable of playing Jack Ross’ lopsided 3-5-2 system, apart from the return of Max Power it was hard to project much changing in a week with just one fixture.
And yet things are never that simple with Sunderland. Our clash with Coventry was disrupted by injuries, and filled with poor individual performances, with some of our best players struggling.
Despite the disappointing result and sub-par performance there were three clear standout performers to lead this week’s chart.
Jon McLaughlin claims the top spot after his man of the match performance at Coventry -capping a great September for our goalkeeper. The Scottish international has been in great form since his penalty save against Fleetwood Town. His excellent performance against Coventry highlighted a different aspect of the 31-year-old’s game as he twice raced off his line to deny Sky Blues’ forwards, with brilliant one-on-one stops.
Chris Maguire maintains a top three spot dropping just one place to second; he was our outstanding forward again, running the game for large portions of the second half.
Lee Cattermole returns to the top three after a really impressive showing. Beyond his well-taken goal, Cattermole lead by example on Saturday fighting to wrestle control in midfield and help calm nerves when the team were struggling in a scrappy first-half.
His influence carried on into the second period where he, of course, scored for the third time this season - it’s only his persistent fouling and needless booking that keeps our former captain off the top spot.
Josh Maja exits our top five for the first time, he was bullied out of Saturday’s game far too easily. Ross would surely have replaced our teenage sensation, had he not been forced into two first-half changes.
As expected Power returns to our top ten it took all of thirty seconds and one inch-perfect, 40 yard, cross-field pass to remind Sunderland fans just how good he is. He oozed class throughout his near 30-minute cameo and is sure to start in our mouth-watering showdown with Peterborough United this evening.
1: Jon McLaughlin (4) - Man of the Match against Coventry, back in the Scotland squad and top of the Roker Report Power Rankings, what a fantastic few days for our number one.
2: Chris Maguire (1) - Great again on Saturday, we’ll need him at his best against Peterborough especially with Lynden Gooch sidelined.
3: Lee Cattermole (5) - Our midfield goal-machine is back in the top three, for refusing to hide and willing his teammates on in a game where several of them struggled to produce their best, he played like a true leader.
4: Lynden Gooch (3) - Didn’t test the Coventry defence enough prior to his injury, one of his more ineffective performances in League One.
5: Jack Baldwin (6) - Struggled with the pace and athleticism of Jonson Clarke-Harris, worryingly him and Tom Flanagan looked too lightweight to partner each other at the heart of a League One defence.
6; Josh Maja (2) - It’s a testament to how impressive Maja has been that when he has an off day it is so frustrating and noticeable, with Wyke out he needs to bounce back quickly.
7: Max Power (19) - In a week where several Sunderland players were well below their best Power’s impressive cameo lifts him back into our top ten. Don’t bet against our excellent, midfield all-rounder vaulting into the top three next week.
8: Denver Hume (7) - For the first time this season, the moment felt too big for Hume, he never settled or showcased the quality which endeared him to Mackems in his other appearances this season.
9: George Honeyman (8) - Struggled to influence the game and create chances, his quiet performance would have been more forgivable if it hadn’t included a miss of the season contender.
10: Tom Flanagan (9) - He was bizarrely passive for Coventry’s goal and his late air-kick which put Conor Chaplin through on goal was even stranger. Those two glaring errors overshadow the fact Flanagan was our best defender in the first-half.
11: Glenn Loovens (10) - Pulled-up in the opening minutes against Coventry, it will be interesting to see how Ross approaches next week without his most experienced defender.
12: Dylan McGeouch (12) - Once again failed to impose himself and dominate the game, most damningly Power looked instantly superior, despite lacking match-sharpness.
13: Brian Oviedo (14) - On Saturday we saw the Brian Oviedo experience in full effect: having another high-quality technician who could keep the ball helped Sunderland build some semblance of momentum in a scrappy first-half. However, Oviedo also switched off defensively and did his usual half-hearted tackling at the other end.
14: Aiden McGeady (12) - Missed out on Saturday, but likely to see some game time and potentially start against Peterborough and Bradford given our lengthy injury list.
15: Jerome Sinclair (13) - Would probably have replaced or been brought on to support Maja on Saturday, had Ross not been forced into two first-half substitutions.
16: Charlie Wyke (15) - Still a long-term absentee, his physicality and ability to hold up the ball was badly missed on Saturday.
17: Robbin Ruiter (16) - Forced to watch on as his rival for the number one jersey continues to flourish in the Sunderland goal.
18: Adam Matthews (22) - Still playing well short of the level you’d expect from a former international, in his prime, who’s played regularly at a higher level. He’s reinstated into our top 20 because of Ross’ continued faith in him and the fact he provided the assist for Cattermole’s finish.
19: Alim Ozturk (17) - Controversially overlooked to replace Loovens at Coventry, he might take the Dutchman’s slot this week alongside Baldwin and Flanagan.
20: Reece James (18) - Lost his spot in our matchday squad to Ozturk, another player who could benefit from our growing list of injuries
21: Bali Mumba (20) - Left out of the under-23s squad against Aston Villa, with four of our starting-11 against Coventry City out, our teenage prodigy could return to the men’s team.
22: Ethan Robson 23: Luke O’Nien 24: Benjamin Kimpioka 25: Donald Love 26: Duncan Watmore