Born in Barking, London, our current central defender started his career at non-League Faversham Town before making an initial move to the north-east via Hartlepool United.
Three solid years at Pools between 2011 and 2014 would see him make seventy-seven League appearances for the club. This led to a tidy sum of £500,000 (potentially rising to £750,000) coming into the coffers at Hartlepool, when Darren Ferguson and Peterborough United came in to buy the twenty-year-old.
Eventually named as club captain ahead of 2017-18, Baldwin enjoyed a successful four years at The Posh making over one hundred appearances for the club.
Moving into the last year of his contract at London Road, Sunderland swooped and signed Baldwin last summer for an undisclosed fee.
He enjoyed a solid enough start to his Sunderland career at the beginning of the season, but there has recently been a wobble in form that will be important to put right coming into the final push for promotion.
Another one from London, this time hailing from Hendon (not that one) - Gary Breen made his League debut for Maidstone United as a seventeen-year-old in 1991.
Initial promise very quickly paved the way for a move up the Leagues to Gillingham where Breen would impress again, playing over fifty games between 1992 and 1994 for The Gills. This would be enough for John Still at Peterborough United to part with £70,000 for the player.
One season at London Road would be all that was needed for Birmingham City to offer £250,000 to take him to St Andrews in February 1996 (playing against Sunderland during our run-in to winning the Division One Championship for the first time under Peter Reid).
He would play at Birmingham for less than a year before neighbours Coventry City, led by Gordon Strachan, upped the ante and offered the Blues £2.5 million to take him to Highfield Road where he’d stay for the next five years.
His performances for the Republic of Ireland during the 2002 World Cup would see his stock rise to comical levels. This new status led to links with Barcelona and also a move to Inter Milan that broke down at the last hour due to a failed medical. He eventually, after much speculation, unsurprisingly, signed for West Ham United on a free transfer.
A year later would see Mick McCarthy (as he so often did) bag a bargain for Sunderland, Gary Breen signed on a free transfer the following summer. A classy centre-half at that level, Breen would play 115 times for Sunderland that included lifting the Championship trophy as captain in 2005.
After spells with Wolverhampton Wanderers (linking up again with Mick McCarthy) and Barnet, and a career that included 63 caps for the Republic of Ireland, Gary Breen retired from football in 2010.
Northumberland-born Ben Alnwick has had, in what is becoming more common in modern day football, a good career as a second-choice goalkeeper.
After early promise upon making his Sunderland debut during the run-in to winning the League championship under Mick McCarthy against Leicester City in 2005, Alnwick made 22 appearances for Sunderland.
All of these appearances would come before Ben Alnwick turned twenty-years-old. This fact isn’t anything out of the ordinary, but he would then go on to make only 49 appearances over the course of the next seven years.
His early performances on Wearside would see Alnwick move to Tottenham Hotspur in a deal that saw Márton Fülöp move in the opposite direction. What followed was a series of loan moves to seven clubs (Luton Town, Leicester City, Carlisle United, Norwich City, Leeds United, Doncaster Rovers and Leyton Orient) over the next four years.
This would ultimately lead to his release by Spurs leading to permanent moves to Barnsley, Charlton Athletic and Leyton Orient where Alnwick would play a handful of games.
In July 2014 a move to Peterborough United would give Alnwick his most regular stint as a No.1. Eighty games over two years would be by far the best return of appearances in his career to date. A move to Bolton Wanderers in 2016 would also prove to be successful where he was named player of the season last year and can still found between the sticks for The Trotters.
Holding his own in a Norwich City team containing the likes of Chris Sutton, Ruel Fox and Efan Ekoku was an impressive start to Power’s career. During this time he was loaned out on three occasions, one of which would be a call from Terry Butcher for a spell on Wearside.
I remember being excited about us signing Lee Power on loan in 1993, and I was there to witness his only goal in a League Cup 1st round game at Roker Park vs Chester City.
That was the sum total of his contribution at Sunderland during his six games. This summary of his time on Wearside was repeated two months later with Portsmouth.
A move to Bradford for a year in 1994-95 only yielded five goals in thirty games, but would lead to a £70,000 move to Peterborough United in 1995. Following a similar year in terms of goals that he experienced at Bradford, Power had spells at Dundee, Hibernian, Ayr United, Plymouth Argyle, Halifax Town and Boston United before retiring in 2001.
Since retiring Lee Power has been a successful businessman (after trying his hand as a football agent), and has been on the board of various Football League clubs.
Sunderland-born David Rush began his Sunderland career as 18-year-old, coming on to replace John Cornforth in a League Cup tie against Fulham at Roker ending 1-1 in September 1989.
Rush wouldn’t be seen again in a Sunderland shirt until he was brought back into the first team during an injury crisis in 1990-91. Injuries to Marco Gabbiadini and Peter Davenport meant Denis Smith turned to David Rush, Warren Hawke and Kieron Brady to help the first team squad.
He made a positive impression during eight League starts and three appearances as a substitute, scoring two goals (both against Crystal Palace). The following season in 1991-92, Rush stepped up and made a larger contribution to the first team, making twenty-seven starts.
This would include important goals en route to the FA Cup final and making the starting XI for the final itself. This would all come for David Rush by the age of 20. By the age of 27 he would be playing non-league football.
A move to Oxford United in 1994, which would reunite him with Denis Smith and Malcolm Crosby, was relatively successful, with Rush scoring 21 in 92 League games.
Short periods at York City and Hartlepool United followed before falling out of the game. In recent years Rush was assistant manager to ex-Sunderland defender Anthony Smith at Gateshead, where he had a spell as caretaker manager before being replaced.