Sunderland’s performance away at Scunthorpe United represented the club’s worst collective showing since our first League defeat away at Burton Albion in September.
Hardly any players came out of Saturday’s match-up with any credit,and the Roker Report Power Rankings reflect this with several Mackems lucky to remain in the top ten.
Given the struggles of our outfield players, Jon McLaughlin is a no-brainer choice to remain at number one. McLaughlin further staked his claim to be Sunderland’s best player with a series of important stops at Glanford Park, the pick being his first-half block against George Thomas one-on-one.
Josh Maja and Reece James’ placement in the top three further showcases just how much the lads struggled against in-form opposition. Neither were on top-form or even consistently good on Saturday, but they did combine for the one moment of attacking class Sunderland produced, with James laying on Maja’s opener.
Jimmy Dunne debuts as an active player at number five in our ranks after a steady debut. The Burnley loanee’s placement in the top five reflects his sure-footed start to life as a Sunderland player, but also highlights sub-par play of those ranked behind him.
Luke Molyneux’s return to the Power Rankings was short-lived. After completing his loan spell at Gateshead he saw 15 minutes of action at Sunderland in three weeks, playing as a substitute in the lads 4-0 drubbing of the Newcastle United Under 21s. Molyneux will complete the season back in the National League on loan at Hartlepool United.
1: Jon McLaughlin (SR) - A unanimous choice to claim the top spot for a second consecutive week, his saves were vital in a game Sunderland easily could have lost.
2: Josh Maja (11) - Back up to second after producing Sunderland’s only highlight at Glanford Park, he showcased great vision and goal-scoring instincts for his 16th goal of the season.
3: Reece James (7) - Reaches his highest ever ranking in large part due to his excellent delivery for the Maja goal. The ex-Wigan Athletic man was uncharacteristically poor in possession, especially in the first-half, but we’ve overlooked that in a week where few Sunderland players were at their best.
4: Luke O’Nien (2) - Drops out of the top three for the first time since he started League One games at right-back. Scunthorpe substitute Adam Hammill in particular really exposed his lack of experience in defence late on.
5: Jimmy Dunne (34) - Impressively vaults all the way up to five after a promising debut in Sunderland’s defence, Dunne has firmly put himself in contention to start ahead of either Jack Baldwin or Tom Flanagan.
6: Dylan McGeouch (3) - Perhaps the best marker of just how grim a time Sunderland had in Lincolnshire is the fact McGeouch stays at six and only drops three places after being overlooked against Scunthorpe.
7: Max Power (4) - Sunderland’s lack of control and dominance against the Iron was in part due to Power and Cattermole’s failure to impose themselves in midfield.
8: Aiden McGeady (5) - Has looked short of his best form since Christmas - the goals have dried up for Sunderland and any one of McGeady, Lynden Gooch or Chris Maguire could pay by losing their starting spot.
9: Charlie Wyke (12) - A rare bright spot on Saturday. Playing in more limited minutes our burly striker looked far more energetic, he was as effective as anyone in closing down and harassing the home side when they were chasing an equaliser.
10: Jack Baldwin (6) - Another player who maintains a place in the top ten without kicking a ball this week, Jack Ross stated Baldwin missed out due to illness rather than tactical preference.
11: Chris Maguire (8) - Drops out the top ten after being a major contributor to Sunderland’s sloppiness and inability to build attacks, Maguire often wants to operate in the same spaces as McGeady leaving us with a predictable, slow-paced attack.
12: Tom Flanagan (9) - When Ross came out after the game and criticised Sunderland’s lack of composure and discipline when protecting a lead, my thoughts instantly went to Flanagan. The 27-year-old’s aimless clearances helped the hosts build pressure late as Sunderland folded.
13: Lynden Gooch (10) - Lynden Gooch has five goals and eight assists in League One and is a full American international, but his dip in form has gone on for so long now, is it time we start worrying that it’s more than that?
14: Duncan Watmore (13) - Watmore couldn’t provide the clinical decision-making and cutting edge we needed to find a second goal against Scunthorpe when he was introduced as a second-half substitute.
15: Lee Cattermole (14) - Controversially recalled to the starting line-up after his two-game suspension ahead of McGeouch, Cattermole was the other half of a central midfield pairing that struggled in Lincolnshire.
16: Bryan Oviedo (15) - An unused substitute against the Iron, Oviedo will likely return for our EFL Trophy clash against the Manchester City Under 21s.
17: George Honeyman (16) - Sunderland’s attack continues to toil and struggle with the skipper injured on the sidelines, his return is badly needed if Sunderland are going to keep pace with the other promotion contenders.
18: Adam Matthews (17) - An unused substitute for the second straight game, the Checkatrade Trophy will provide an ideal chance for Matthews to prove his fitness and stake a claim to return as our starting right-back.
19: Benji Kimpioka (18) - Missed the matchday squad at Scunthorpe due to several first-teamers being fit again - one of many players in contention to feature in the EFL Trophy.
20: Bali Mumba (19) - Like his fellow teenage prodigy, Kimpioka, our 17-year-old midfielder dropped out of our matchday squad at Glanford Park. Unfortunately Mumba is suspended for the EFL Trophy quarter-final.
21: Robbin Ruiter 22: Alim Ozturk 23: Glenn Loovens 24: Denver Hume 25: Jack Bainbridge 26: Ethan Robson 27: Donald Love 28: Jake Hackett 29: Jack Diamond 30: Lee Connelly 31: Brandon Taylor 32: Jordan Hunter 33: Daniel Neil 34: Max Stryjek