Championship Top Men: Rhodes reigns
After netting a hat-trick at the weekend against Peterborough, Blackburn's Jordan Rhodes heads TEAMtalk's Championship Top Men. Once a week, TEAMtalk will select our premium XI from England's second tier, explain our selections and then invite you - our loyal army of readers - to pick your team of top men. We're looking for the players who caught your eye with dazzling displays or powerful performances in the second tier. You can choose any formation and there's no limit on how many players you can pick from each team - so have a think, then get involved. Championship Top Men (4-4-2): Marshall; Chester, Shittu, Connolly, Chalobah; Ince, Aluko, Buckley, Knockhaert; Rhodes, Murray. Goalkeeper: David Marshall - Cardiff City It is fair to say it was a productive weekend for Cardiff, as they maintained their 100 per cent home record and edged their way back into the automatic promotion places. Marshall helped the Bluebirds past fellow high-fliers Middlesbrough, with the Scotland international repelling everything Boro threw at him. Defenders: James Chester - Hull City It was a happy return to a former stomping ground for Steve Bruce on Saturday, with the Hull City boss able to get one over on ex-employers Birmingham. The Tigers rather stumbled over the line in the end, running out 3-2 winners, but Chester got his name on the scoresheet and just about did enough to prevent the Blues from snatching an unlikely point. Danny Shittu - Millwall Millwall's rapid rise up the second tier standings is showing no signs of slowing down, with a 1-0 win over Leeds seeing them into ninth spot. The Lions are now 10 games unbeaten and right in the play-off mix. Shittu has led from the front throughout their recent surge and helped to keep a third clean sheet of the season on Sunday. Nathaniel Chalobah - Watford Netting your first senior goal is always a special moment, and Chalobah had cause for celebration on Saturday as he opened his account in Watford's 2-1 win over Wolves. The highly-rated 17-year-old, who is on loan from Chelsea, required two bites of the cherry to get the ball over the line, but will be delighted to be up and running. Matthew Connolly - Cardiff City Cardiff's victory over Boro has already been discussed, and Connolly was the man to see them to maximum points. A summer signing from Queens Park Rangers, the 25-year-old is proving to be a useful addition to the Bluebirds ranks. His match-winning header over the weekend was his fourth goal of the season, making him the club's third highest scorer. Midfielders: Tom Ince - Blackpool It requires a cool head to step up in the dying seconds of a game away from home and stroke home a match-saving penalty. Fortunately for Blackpool, Ince has matured into one of the finest performers in the Championship and there was little doubt that he would find the target when charged with task of salvaging a 1-1 draw at struggling Bristol City. Anthony Knockaert - Leicester City Few supporters in England would have known much about Knockaert when he was snapped up by Leicester over the summer. The French midfielder is, however, quickly making a name for himself on the back of a number of eye-catching displays. The 20-year-old was among the goals again over the weekend as the Foxes crushed Ipswich 6-0 at the King Power Stadium. Sone Aluko - Hull City Aluko is quickly becoming a regular in these weekly selections, with the winger continuing to go from strength to strength at Hull City. The Tigers pulled off quite a coup in luring him to the KC Stadium and are now reaping the rewards. The tricky winger bagged another brace against Birmingham to take his tally for the season to eight. Will Buckley - Brighton & Hove Albion Brighton clambered above weekend opponents Huddersfield with a 2-1 win at the John Smith's Stadium, with victory taking Gus Poyet's side to within a point of the play-off places. Buckley was very much the hero of the hour for the Seagulls, with his well-taken first-half double leaving the Terriers with too much to do. Strikers: Glenn Murray - Crystal Palace Few strikers are in as rich a vein of form right now as Palace frontman Murray. The 29-year-old netted a deadly double in a 3-0 victory over Derby on Saturday to take his recent return to seven goals in four games. Palace, meanwhile, continue to top the division and have now gone 14 games since they last tasted defeat. Jordan Rhodes - Blackburn Rovers It is possible that Rhodes could end up costing Blackburn £8million, but they will be happy to part with every single penny if he continues to do the business on the field. The Scotland international has now found the target nine times in 14 appearances for Rovers, with the first hat-trick of his Ewood Park career collected during a routine 4-1 victory at Peterborough.
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