Jack Baldwin has become the first player to retain the number one spot on the Roker Report Power Rankings.
Baldwin’s shocking volley in the second-half might have defined his performance against Fleetwood Town, but he played well enough in his main role as a defender to hold off several worthy contenders for his spot on the summit.
Josh Maja has returned to the top two after notching his fifth league goal of the season against the Cod Army.
Denver Hume is our biggest climber after back-to-back Man of the Match performances as the academy product showed ingenuity and directness in an otherwise forgettable Checkatrade Trophy clash with Stoke City’s U21s.
He then backed up that performance at the weekend with an assured first league start, where his interplay with George Honeyman was crucial in creating Sunderland’s equaliser.
For the first time Lynden Gooch has dropped out of our top five after his struggles against Fleetwood, where he suffered a rare off day.
Jon McLaughlin has returned to our top ten after becoming the first man to save a penalty for Sunderland at home outside of penalty shootouts since March 21, 1989.
Jerome Sinclair and Tom Flanagan have vaulted into the top fifteen after successful returns from injury; both are in contention to start against Burton Albion and add valuable depth to Jack Ross’ squad.
Robbin Ruiter has been rewarded for his own penalty saving heroics in our shootout win with Stoke’s youngsters debuting as an active player at thirteenth.
Four players saw their grade drop dramatically - Adam Matthews and Chris Maguire have both been punished for awful showings in League One action, whilst Bali Mumba and Brian Oviedo, the only first teamers away on international duty, drop due to inactivity.
Luke Molyneux leaves our rankings until January after agreeing a loan deal with Gateshead; taking his place is Benjamin Mbunga-Kimpioka. The eighteen-year-old wasn’t listed as a first team squad member on Sunderland AFC’s website and therefore wasn’t initially included in our Rankings, but we’ve amended our list to include the youngster after his second-half cameo against Stoke U21s in the Checkatrade Trophy.
1: Jack Baldwin (1) - Arguably our best and most important player, he remains top of the pile for a second week running.
2: Josh Maja (4) - After adding to his excellent goal-scoring record so far this season, our budding young striker is back competing for the top spot.
3: Denver Hume (18) - What a difference a week makes, Hume has gone from a promising Under-23 player on the periphery of our matchday squad, to starring in two consecutive matches. Bizarrely enough, he could conceivably keep a veteran of two World Cup tournaments out of the team against Burton Albion.
4: Lee Cattermole (3) - Remains in the top five after maintaining his strong early form against Fleetwood Town.
5: George Honeyman (5) - Stays in the top five which is either too high or too low after Saturday’s game depending on which Sunderland fans you speak to.
6: Lynden Gooch (2) - Drops out the top five for the first time - hopefully the Fleetwood game was a one-off and League One teams aren’t starting to figure out our most dynamic attacker.
7: Jon McLaughlin (15) - After breaking a near 30-year hoodoo he’s back in our good books - and back in the top ten.
8: Glenn Loovens (13) - Produced another solid no-thrills performance in his return from injury against Fleetwood.
9: Charlie Wyke (7) - Unable to match last week’s stunning debut. Wyke’s importance and placement on these rankings is only likely to grow as he returns to full-match fitness.
10: Dylan McGeouch (8) - Hasn’t quite produced the statement-making performances many Sunderland fans were hoping for in Max Power’s absence; however, he’ll have two more chances to prove he’s un-droppable.
11: Tom Flanagan (22) - Backed-up an impressive, assured debut in the Checkatrade Trophy with an impressive cameo against Fleetwood. If it wasn’t for Fleetwod keeper Alex Cairns’ fingertip save, Flanagan would have risen into the top ten.
12: Jerome Sinclair (19) - Looked threatening in both substitute appearances this week; his pace he offers a tantalising alternative to Wyke and Maja.
13: Robbin Ruiter (26) - Although overshadowed by McLaughlin’s 28-years-in-the-making save in League Once action, our Dutch stopper produced his own heroics leading the way in our 4-2 penalty shootout victory over the Stoke City U21s with two excellent rejections.
14: Brian Oviedo (6) - Our only senior international callup, Oviedo started for Costa Rica as they were beaten by South Korea and Japan.
15: Alim Ozturk: (9) - Lost his starting place to Loovens after a shaky showing in the Checkatrade Trophy.
16: Reece James (10) - Now third in our left-back pecking order after a disappointing showing in the Checkatrade Trophy. Considering Hume and Oviedo’s form, James mightn’t even make the 18-man squad travelling to the Pirelli Stadium.
17: Max Power (11) - Still sidelined through suspension.
18: Chris Maguire (12) - Poor on Saturday and in serious danger of dropping out of the top 20 unless he can recapture his early season form.
19: Adam Matthews (14) - Even worse than Maguire at the weekend, he looked unfit and several yards off the pace throughout. It’s debatable whether Mathews or Ross deserve the blame for Saturday’s misstep, but the Welsh international falls regardless.
20: Bali Mumba (16) - Appeared in both of England U18’s victories against Russia and France.
21: Ethan Robson (24) - Got his first start of the season in the Checkatrade trophy, but was unable to win over Ross, who didn’t include him in our 18-man squad for Saturday’s league match.
22: Luke O’Nien 23: Benji Kimpioka 24: Donald Love 25: Aiden McGeady 26: Duncan Watmore 27: Max Stryjek 28: Didier Ndong 29: Papy Djilobodji.