Josh Maja has returned to the top of our Power Rankings in a week where the teenage sensation scored his 10th and 11th goals of the season.
Maja saved Sunderland from a humiliating first home defeat of the season against Wycombe Wanderers after scoring a late winner in the EFL Trophy at Morecambe just days earlier.
An ankle injury to our teenage marksman allowed Jerome Sinclair to temporarily claim Sunderland’s starting centre forward slot, but Maja has firmly wrestled back his status as Sunderland’s star striker with two brilliant examples of his calmness and ruthlessness in front of goal.
In a week where Sunderland collectively under-performed in League One action, Tom Flanagan and Aiden McGeady maintain top three slots. Flanagan remains one of Sunderland’s most consistent performers and although McGeady remains an unpredictable, at times frustrating performer he was Sunderland’s most constant goal threat against the Chairboys.
Dylan McGeouch and Jack Baldwin are the two League One starters to drop furthest down our totem pole after Wycombe snapped our eight-game win-streak. McGeouch looks likely to lose his starting slot to Max Power after an ineffective performance, whilst Baldwin looked sluggish for a second straight appearance.
Jack Ross’ decision to use Sunderland’s final group stage clash in the EFL Trophy against Morecambe as a player-development and fitness building match also means we have some new names on our rankings. Ross handed out five first-team debuts to some of our most promising under-23 players, so we welcome Jake Hackett, Jack Bainbridge, Brandon Taylor, Jordan Hunter and Daniel Neil to the Power Rankings.
1: Josh Maja (14) - Takes the top spot for the second time this season after adding two more goals to his remarkable tally.
2: Tom Flanagan (3) - Has become a fixture in the top five due to his consistency - he’s Sunderland’s most reliable centre-half by some distance.
3: Aiden McGeady (2) - Maintains a top three slot on the back of being Sunderland’s most dangerous attacker in a game where the team faltered and struggled to create high quality chances.
4: Jon McLaughlin (5) - Stays in the top five after producing another competent if unspectacular display in goal.
5: Chris Maguire (6) - Did just enough against Wycombe to return to the top five. The forward produced some moments of real quality, including one outstanding ball to Adam Matthews, but failed to regularly carve open a well-marshaled opposition.
6: George Honeyman (1) - Drops out the top five after struggling alongside McGeouch in central midfield - thankfully Honeyman did manage to produce the cut-back for Maja’s late equaliser against the Blues.
7: Adam Matthews (7) - Stays in the top ten after another impressive performance, the Welsh international was one of Sunderland’s main attacking threats against Wycombe getting forward effectively with more regularity.
8: Reece James (9) - Rises one spot in spite of being replaced by Bryan Oviedo late on in League One action. James is a remarkably consistent defensive minded full-back.
9: Lynden Gooch (4) - Drops back out of the top five after one of his quietest displays of the season - never really created the sort of havoc and fear he normally does from the right flank against the Chairboys.
10: Max Power (15) - Creeps back into the top ten after another eye-catching cameo off the bench against the Wanderers, Power’s ranking also reflects badly on the starters he’s overtaken.
11: Bryan Oviedo (27) - Finally off the naughty step after making his first appearances since his moronic sending off against Peterborough. Workmanlike performances against Morcambe and Wycombe see him slot back in at 11.
12: Dylan McGeouch (8) - With Max Power available, McGeough will be lucky to retain his spot in the side next weekend.
13: Jerome Sinclair (10) - Previously Sinclair’s ability to hold-up the ball and bring others into play made him a genuine valuable alternative to Maja, but that wasn’t the case on Saturday. An anonymous display against Wycombe where the Watford loanee failed to retain possession over and over again sees him drop to 13.
14: Luke O’Nien (11) - Drops to 14 after failing to capitalise on a rare start against Morecambe and being overlooked as an option from the bench against his former club.
15: Jack Baldwin (12) - Continues to falls to another all-time low ranking - for the second week running Baldwin was among the three worst performers on the pitch for Sunderland.
16: Lee Cattermole (13) - Missed another week through injury and falls out of the top 15 for the first time due to inactivity.
17: Glenn Loovens (17) - Played for the first time since getting injured at Coventry in EFL Trophy clash with Morecambe. Still unlikely to start league matches, even if Baldwin’s struggling.
18: Alim Ozturk (19) - Also played for the first time in over a month against Morecambe after patiently acting as an understudying to Baldwin and Flanagan.
19: Denver Hume (16) - Drops further down our totem poll due to inactivity through injury.
20: Bali Mumba (18) - Also falls down the table after not playing in either match for Sunderland, he did however start in a 3-1 victory for England under 18s against Ireland’s under 18s.
21: Robbin Ruiter 22: Benji Kimpioka 23: Charlie Wyke 24: Ethan Robson 25: Donald Love 26: Jack Diamond 27: Jake Hackett 28: Lee Connelly 29: Jack Bainbridge 30: Brandon Taylor 31: Jordan Hunter 32: Daniel Neil 33: Duncan Watmore.