Jon McLaughlin has ascended to the top of the Roker Report Power Rankings for a third time this season after yet another Man of the Match performance.
In Sunderland’s top-of-the-table clash against Luton Town the Black Cats required three magnificent McLaughlin saves to secure a point against the Hatters.
McLaughlin has been a major improvement on the disastrous Sunderland goalkeeping situation from last season and Saturday provided another reminder as to just how valuable a keeper he is.
Luke O’Nien’s run alongside the top performers in our Power Rankings continues. He was excellent again - his decision making as a full-back is improving, whilst his endless energy and deceptive physicality allow him to impose himself defensively. The 24-year-old drops just one place to second.
Completing the top three is Dylan McGeouch, who continues to impress since his return to the starting line-up.
Charlie Wyke falls out of the top ten after disappointing in Sunderland’s crucial League One fixture. The striker never truly imposed himself during the game, he looked to be running on fumes in the second half and missed another golden chance late-on.
Pour one out for Jerome Sinclair who leaves our rankings as he’s returned to Watford after agreeing with the club to have his loan terminated early. Sinclair’s Sunderland spell will most likely be remembered for his failure to score goals, but the Watford man did play well in vital fixtures against Doncaster and Peterborough United.
Our Power Rankings reflect Sinclair’s struggles - he made the top five twice in October, but largely floundered outside our top ten.
We also welcome Jimmy Dunne to our squad list. The Irish centre back has joined Sunderland on loan until the end of the season - he debuts at 34 on our rankings next to the only other first-team player yet to make an appearance, Max Stryjek.
1: Jon McLaughlin (3) - Joins Josh Maja and Aiden McGeady by becoming our third three-time Roker Report Power Rankings champion after another outstanding performance in goal.
2: Luke O’Nien (1) - A fourth straight week in the top three for O’Nien who looks more and more like a quality League One full back each week. He also dealt very well with James Justin, one of Luton’s most potent attacking threats.
3: Dylan McGeouch (7) - His highest ever ranking. McGeouch is finally hitting his stride in the first-team, he’ll have to keep it up with Cattermole once again available for selection.
4: Max Power (6) - Returns to the top five after another steady showing in the heart of Sunderland’s midfield.
5: Aiden McGeady (SR) - Remains at #5 despite not quite being at his best against Luton, the 32-year-old remains an awkward fit in the same forward line as Chris Maguire.
6: Jack Baldwin (9) - The pick of our two centre backs in a frenetic, at times end-to-end match with Luton, he rises three places to sixth.
7: Reece James (10) - Moves up three slots despite failing to capitalise on the space he was afforded by Luton in Saturday’s match-up. Despite his attacking short comings, James was solid as always in defence.
8: Chris Maguire (11) - Regains his place in the top ten after his brilliant strike put Sunderland ahead on Saturday - his bizarre if unfortunate red card stops him rising higher.
9: Tom Flanagan (4) - Drops out the top five after being caught out at crucial moments against Luton. It was his “challenge” that lead to Luton’s penalty and he was bypassed when McLaughlin saved at point-blank range from James Collins.
10: Lynden Gooch (14) - Improved on his Charlton performance and inadvertently set-up Maguire’s goal. The American is still looking to recapture his best form and was the first player substituted by Jack Ross.
11: Josh Maja (2) - Conspicuous by his absence, after missing another massive fixture through illness Maja drops out of the top ten.
12: Charlie Wyke (8) - Falls despite scoring in the EFL Trophy, he really disappointed on Saturday and has yet to look anything like the difference maker he was brought in to be.
13: Duncan Watmore (12) - Endured his worst week since returning from long-term injury. The former England under 21 international missed the Luton clash with a groin injury which he picked up against Newcastle Under 21s in a game he played badly in.
14: Lee Cattermole (13) - Completed his two-match ban and is now available to return to first-team action, it will be fascinating to see whether the former Sunderland skipper starts against Scunthorpe United.
15: Bryan Oviedo (SR) - Enjoyed a brief cameo against Luton. He was unable to provide the spark or inspire Sunderland into grabbing a winner against ten men and stays outside the top ten as a result.
16: George Honeyman (SR) - Missed another week through injury, Sunderland still haven’t found the best way to be effective without their skipper.
17: Adam Matthews (SR) - Was fit enough for a place on the bench against Luton, incredibly despite his excellent form this season, Matthews faces a real battle to get his starting place back, such is the form of O’Nien.
18: Benji Kimpioka (24) - Back in the top 20 after an excellent cameo against Newcastle Under 21s, not only did Kimpioka score he was a constant threat throughout. He was also thrown on against the Hatters when Sunderland were searching for a winner and came close on two occasions.
19: Bali Mumba (18) - Our other teenage sensation was equally impressive in the EFL Trophy, he drops below Kimpioka as he didn’t get any minutes in the league.
20: Robbin Ruiter (22) - Claimed a fourth clean sheet of the season in the EFL Trophy furthering the rehabilitation of his reputation after a horrific first season on Wearside.
21: Alim Ozturk 22: Glenn Loovens 23: Denver Hume 24: Jack Bainbridge 25: Ethan Robson 26: Donald Love 27: Luke Molyneux 28: Jake Hackett 29: Jack Diamond 30: Lee Connelly 31: Brandon Taylor 32: Jordan Hunter 33: Daniel Neil 34: Jimmy Dunne 35: Max Stryjek