Welcome to the inaugural Roker Report Sunderland AFC Power Rankings.
Our writers have come together to produce a purely subjective - just for fun - set of rankings that rating every single member of our first team squad. The new rankings will be released every Tuesday to reflect how the lads are tackling what we hope will be a League One promotion campaign.
TWENTY players have turned out for the lads so far, and whilst we expect Charlie Wyke and Dylan McGeouch to hold down top ten places we can’t put them there until they return from injury.
Leading the way are academy products Josh Maja and Lynden Gooch, both of whom have made great strides over the summer and look to be among the best attacking players in League One. Chris Maguire is the top new signing so far, with three other summer arrivals taking up a place in our top ten.
Alim Ozturk is the last out of the active players after enduring a torrid debut against Charlton Athletic and making a game-changing error against Sheffield Wednesday.
1: Josh Maja - Three goals in three League one matches - need we say more?!
2: Lynden Gooch - Terrorising League One left-backs since August 4th.
3: Brian Oviedo - It turns out that having a player who has been to two World Cups with his country is pretty handy when you’re a team in the third tier.
4: Chris Maguire - The former Sheffield Wednesday and Aberdeen man capped off a brilliant start to his Sunderland career with a great backheeled goal on Sunday.
5: Max Power - The Wigan Athletic loanee is a midfield all-rounder and a potential cult hero in the making. His headed goal and then 70 yard pass which led to Lynden Gooch assisting our third at the weekend were both sensational bits of play.
6: Jon McLaughlin - Remarkable... we finally have ourselves a good Sunderland goalkeeper! What a relief after suffering from Camp and Steele last season. He’s comfortable in just about every area of his came and we look assured with him between the sticks.
7: Jack Baldwin - The former Hartlepool man is the ball-playing centre half we’ll need to help unlock the jobber League One defences we’ll come up against every week this season.
8: Lee Cattermole - What a week for Cattermole. He was brilliant against Sheffield Wednesday and then didn’t put a foot wrong against Scunthorpe on Sunday - there may still be life in the old dog yet!
9: George Honeyman - Not quite captain fantastic, but more captain consistent.
10: Adam Matthews - Another who should be one of the best in his position in this league.
11: Bali Mumba - The 16-year old was very good in our first two fixtures but is now likely to take a backseat as more senior players like Dylan McGeouch return to fitness.
12: Glenn Loovens - We’ve seen a mixed bag from the Dutchman so far. Whilst he was part of a defence that got a clean sheet at the weekend, he had a couple of hairy moments in the game and wasn’t overly convincing against Charlton, but looks better alongside Baldwin than he does alongside Ozturk.
13: Luke O’Nien - Suffered the ignominy of being hooked at half-time against Charlton Athletic, but was much better against Sheffield Wednesday. Will probably take some time to get used to playing at a higher level under a more astute manager than he’s been used to.
14: Reece James - Solid if unspectacular start for the former Wigan man who, in fairness to him, has had to play a bit-part role due to injuries and the form of Bryan Oviedo.
15: Denver Hume - The Academy of Light graduate will hopefully build on a promising first start against Sheffield Wednesday. Could we see him leave the club on loan, though? Let’s wait and see - he’d certainly benefit from regular playing time this season.
16: Jerome Sinclair - He changed the game against Charlton, but will face tough competition from Maja and Wyke for game time when he’s back fit and firing.
17: Elliot Embleton - Still yet to make his mark in the men’s game. Hopefully he can reproduce the excellence and promise he’s shown in England youth teams soon.
18: Donald Love - Dropping to League One ostensibly offered the perfect platform and opportunity for Love to establish himself as a genuine starter and first team fixture on Wearside. Sadly, Donald hasn’t been seen since getting injured 30 minutes into our opening game.
19: Luke Molyneux - Has been used fleetingly late on in games by Jack Ross but, given our forward options, the 20-year-old might benefit from going on loan and getting more minutes elsewhere.
20: Alim Ozturk - Sadly the 25-year-old has struggled in both games he’s played in at the Stadium of Light. We’re likely to need the big Turk over the course of this marathon season, so hopefully we’ll see the best of him in the future.
21: Dylan McGeouch - Expected to be the man who makes Sunderland tick this year, but an injury at the Riverside has sadly robbed us of seeing the Scottish playmaker in a competitive game.
22: Charlie Wyke - Our marquee centre forward signing. Wyke may now initially struggle to get into the team given the form of our power ranking leader Josh Maja.
23: Aiden McGeady - Even if he’s nearing the twilight of his career McGeady’s skill, technique, footballing IQ and all-round ability should be too much for League One defenders. Let’s hope he’s fit shortly.
24: Ethan Robson - Jack Ross is reportedly a big fan of the all-action, rugged midfielder. Even so, Robson still faces a struggle for game time given our central midfield options.
25: Duncan Watmore - What will Watmore look like after potentially career altering injuries? That’s the big question. If he returns to his absolute peak Sunderland could feasibly turn a Premier League level player into the ultimate League One super-sub.
26: Robbin Ruiter - Despite a woeful, incomprehensibly awful first season at Sunderland, the Dutchman still finds himself as our back-up option.
27: Max Stryjek - The academy graduate will serve as our third-choice stopper this year and may struggle to rise up the RR rankings.
28: Didier Ndong - The Gabonese international is still here... somehow. Hopefully he’ll be gone by the time the European transfer window closes at the end of August.
29: Papy Djilobodji - Of all the bad mistakes made during the Ellis Short era, David Moyes and co being talked into the idea of Djilobodji as a Premier League centre back might be the most dumbfounding one.