In stark contrast to last week’s ratings, several players made strong claims to top the Roker Report Power Rankings after their fantastic performances at the weekend.
Seven Sunderland players could credibly headline our list after our 4-1 drubbing of Rochdale, a pleasant change from Burton where Jack Baldwin barely deserved the top spot.
Chris Maguire was, in our opinion, the no-brainer pick at number one - he was simply sensational in his man of the match performance against the Dale. He found space in front of the Rochdale defence throughout and created most of Sunderland’s best chances, including Josh Maja’s crucial opener. It’s staggering to think just two weeks ago, Maguire sat at 18th on this chart after three straight sub-par performances.
Goal-scoring heroes Josh Maja and Lynden Gooch round off our top three as a reward for their sensational finishing. Gooch returns to the top three after a recent dip in form put him in danger of exiting the top ten. EFL young player of the month, Maja, remains the only ever-present member of the top five.
Jon McLaughlin is unfortunate to lose his place in the top three. Saturday was arguably his most accomplished performance in a Sunderland shirt. Similarly, Denver Hume - who reacted perfectly to being dropped, getting an assist to cap an assured all-round performance - is unlucky to only finish at seven.
Didier Ndong has been sacked by Sunderland for allegedly breaching his contract, and no longer graces the bottom of these ratings. With Ndong and Papy Djilobodji gone these Power rankings are comprised solely of Sunderland players the club can be proud of - footballers who are willing to graft, that are excited to help Sunderland’s attempted promotion from League One.
Regular readers of this feature will be aware we are rotating our loan players in and out of the charts based on which club they are currently playing for. For that reason, Max Stryjek has exited our rankings this week.
Our third-choice stopper has agreed a month-long loan with Eastleigh, wherein the National League side have the option to extend his loan. They might well exercise that option if his debut performance where he kept a clean-sheet against Dagenham and Redbridge is anything to go by.
1: Chris Maguire (2) - Super-sub last week, man of the match this week - Maguire’s redemption arc is complete after starting on the bench against Burton. Credit to him for the perfect reaction to getting dropped.
2: Josh Maja (4) - What a season Maja is having! The EFL young player of the month was ice-cold and clinical in front of goal on Saturday, playing a major role in Saturday’s vital victory.
3: Lynden Gooch (9) - A majestic return to form, thankfully Gooch’s minor blip didn’t last long and he’s back terrorising League One left backs.
4: Jon McLaughlin (3) - McLaughlin’s struggles and descent down our player ratings seem a lifetime ago. He was outstanding on Saturday and would be a worthy number one this week in different circumstances.
5: Lee Cattermole (6) - Impressive on Saturday and perhaps unlucky that his ability to read play and protect our defence has been overshadowed by more eye-catching performances in both penalty areas.
6: Jack Baldwin (1) - In a week where Sunderland’s forwards ran rampant and we dominated our opposition, one mistake which cost us a goal is enough to see Baldwin to drop out of our top five. We still love him, but the small details matter in a week filled with excellent performances.
7: Denver Hume (5) - Like Maguire, the 22-year-old deserves heaps of praise for reacting so positively to being dropped - he grew into the game and continues to mix industry with intelligent runs and quality crossing.
8: George Honeyman (7) - Overshadowed by our other attackers, Honeyman barely put a foot wrong, yet drops to eight in a stacked week.
9: Tom Flanagan (13) - Finally breaks our top ten after an impressive first league start for the club. His comfort playing both at right-back and centre-half vastly improves our ability to play Jack Ross’ preferred 3-5-2 system.
10: Glenn Loovens (10) - One of Saturday’s worse performers, he must improve if Sunderland are to win on the road on Saturday.
11: Dylan McGeouch (11) - Continues to divide opinion - with Max Power available again the Scottish midfielder may not be given the opportunity reclaim a top ten spot.
12: Aiden McGeady (8) - Came on with the game already won on Saturday, McGeady might have to get used to a super-sub role if Maguire and Gooch continue to out-class their League One adversaries.
13: Jerome Sinclair (14) - Another substitute against Rochdale who’s unlikely to start at the Ricoh Arena. He failed to score his first Sunderland goal in 25 minutes against an already demoralised Dale defence.
14: Brian Oviedo (16) - Had a brief run-out in midfield against Rochdale; unlikely to displace Hume as our starting left-wing back.
15: Charlie Wyke (11) - Projected to miss 12 weeks of match-action due to the gruesome injury he sustained at the Pirelli Stadium.
16 Robbin Ruiter (15) - Unlikely to be seen in goal for Sunderland until the next Checkatrade Trophy fixture.
17: Alim Ozturk (17) - A mystery omission from Saturday’s matchday 18.
18: Reece James (18) - Was back in the matchday squad, but didn’t get any playing time for the third straight fixture.
19: Max Power (19) - Finally free to return to the team, Ross’ one major selection dilemma is whether to instantly reinstate Power into our starting eleven.
20: Bali Mumba (20) - Didn’t play in the Under-23’s embarrassment at Wolves, despite missing out completely against Rochdale.
21: Ethan Robson (21) - Like Mumba, Robson was an absentee from the under 23’s 7-0 massacre at Molyneux despite not being in Ross’ immediate plans.
22: Adam Matthews 23: Luke O’Nien 24: Benjamin Kimpioka 25: Donald Love 26: Duncan Watmore.