Lewis Morgan has risen to the top of the Roker Report Power Rankings for the first time after starring in both of Sunderland’s matches against Doncaster Rovers and Peterborough United.
Morgan pushed Charlie Wyke and Aiden McGeady for man of the match honours in the Black Cats’ outstanding 2-0 shutout of Doncaster, scoring a wonderful opening goal. The 22-year-old was equally impressive - especially in the first-half - at London Road creating chances and committing defenders in Sunderland’s gut-wrenching draw.
Max Power finished as Morgan’s closest rival after one of his best weeks as a Sunderland player. The energetic midfielder was the clear man of the match versus Peterborough, not just scoring a wonderful late goal, but driving his teammates on throughout.
Power was good against Rovers too - his wonderful cross created the chaos that led to the Mackem’s second goal which effectively killed off Doncaster’s hopes in the first-half.
Aiden McGeady completes our top three. He was excellent against Grant McCann’s side creating endless chances, putting the play-off hopefuls on the back foot. The 33-year-old was also effective at Peterborough again, despite playing through the pain barrier and being too injured to train before either match.
1: Lewis Morgan (4) - Rises to the top for the first time. Morgan is growing in confidence with every passing week and looks set to have a huge say on Sunderland’s promotion hopes.
2: Max Power (5) - The box-to-box midfielder finally looks back to his best after enduring a turbulent first season on Wearside. His emergence as an added goal threat could be vital in the coming weeks.
3: Aiden McGeady (6) - Back in the top three after being badly missed in Sunderland’s disastrous week hosting Burton Albion and Coventry City. The 33-year-old is Sunderland’s player of the year for a reason.
4: Charlie Wyke (1) - Unfortunate to drop out of the top three after dominating the Rovers backline in a decisive performance where Wyke added another goal and assist to his tally. His showing in Peterborough will be remembered for the big first-half chance he missed, and that proved extremely costly.
5: Jon McLaughlin (2) - Another who is unlucky to see his ranking drop so far, but outfield players just had a greater impact than our stopper in both fixtures. McLaughlin did all the little things well this week, from distribution, handling and making basic saves.
6: Bryan Oviedo (3) - The Costa Rica international’s return to the first-team has been a positive on the whole, but this week summed up the erratic nature of his game. Brilliant against Doncaster with assured defending that is rarely associated with the ex-Everton man, was followed by a shaky showing against Peterborough where Oviedo’s struggles against Marcus Maddison nearly cost the Black Cats the game.
7: Luke O’Nien (10) - Great recovery from last week’s horror show, O’Nien was excellent in both games and is maybe unlucky to not rise higher after two of his best displays against top-half teams.
8: Lee Cattermole (13) - Our former captain was superb against Doncaster reading the game and snuffing out attacks as well as making smart passes and helping his team dominate. He looked tired and ineffective three days later against the Posh.
9: Jimmy Dunne (18) - Back in the top ten after being reinstalled to the first-team and helping the team to one clean sheet then nearly repeating the trick at Peterborough.
10: Alim Ozturk (23) - Like Dunne, Ozturk was part of a back four that nearly managed two clean sheets against top-half League One sides. This is only his second top ten appearance, after spending the season as an often-unused back-up center back.
11: George Honeyman (7) - Probably received more flack than any other starter across both games for his passing against Doncaster and lack of an impact against the Posh.
12: Will Grigg (8) - Drops out the top ten after failing to make a mark in either game as a Substitute. The Northern Ireland international is now firmly behind Wyke in Jack Ross’ pecking order.
13: Chris Maguire (21) - He’s back. Maguire looked like his old self in limited minutes against Peterborough. Like Power, Maguire could be a difference-maker across one of the most important months in the club’s recent history.
14: Grant Leadbitter (9) - Slipping down our ranks as he struggles to get minutes on the pitch, the Mackem midfielder was reduced to less than five minutes of match action across the two games.
15: Dylan McGeouch (11) - Still out injured, it remains unclear whether the diminutive midfield man will have a further role in deciding Sunderland’s promotion hopes.
16: Denver Hume (12) - An unused substitute across both matches; it could prove hard for our young full-back to wrestle his starting spot back from Oviedo before the season closes.
17: Lynden Gooch (14) - Fit enough to come on from the bench in both games, the American international wasn’t good enough in either to climb further up our chart.
18: Kazaiah Sterling (15) - With Gooch and Maguire back in contention the Spurs loanee missed the 18-man squad for both games.
19: Benji Kimpioka (16) - Like Sterling, Kimpioka lost his spot in the first-team squad, now more proven performers are back in contention.
20: Reece James (20) - Still nowhere to be seen since going down injured at Wembley.
21: Adam Matthews 22: Duncan Watmore 23: Robbin Ruiter 24: Bali Mumba 25: Jack Baldwin 26: Tom Flanagan 27: Glenn Loovens 28: Jack Bainbridge 29: Donald Love 30: Jake Hackett 31: Lee Connelly 32: Brandon Taylor 33: Jordan Hunter 34: Daniel Neil 35: Max Stryjek