English League Championship

Champ Top Men: Tigers trio burning bright

Wednesday 2nd January 2013 11:56

Evans: Key performer for Hull

Evans: Key performer for Hull

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In-form Hull provide three players in our Championship Top Men team for the festive period, while Blackburn and Nottingham Forest are also represented.

Here's TEAMtalk's latest premium XI selection from England's second tier. We explain our selections and then invite you 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 Championship.

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 (4-1-4-1): Jakupovic; McNaughton, Chester, Hudson, Rowe; C Evans; Moritz, Ince, Rochina, Vydra; Sharp.

Eldin Jakupovic - Hull City

Hull City did not concede a single goal in their last three matches, including those against Leeds United and Leicester City, and Jakupovic was a key performer at the back. His saves in the aforementioned two matches as well as against Blackpool proved instrumental in the Tigers moving to second in the league standings.

Kevin McNaughton - Cardiff City

The 30-year-old defender was in fine form over the festive period as he helped the Bluebirds concede just one goal in the three games they played since the Boxing Day. McNaughton was crucial for City in their 2-1 win against Crystal Palace and 1-0 triumph over Millwall at home three days later.

James Chester - Hull City

The 23-year-old was an absolute rock at the back for Hull, who kept successive clean sheets against Blackpool, Leeds and Leicester. Even though only one of those matches ended in a win for the Tigers, Chester's display at the back cannot be overlooked as his side currently find themselves seven points off the pace in second place.

Mark Hudson - Cardiff City

The 30-year-old centre-back played in all three of Cardiff's matches over the festive period, proving to be a rock in defence as the Welsh club shipped in just one goal in three matches. The way he marshalled the backline and consolidated proceedings in defence was exemplary.

Tommy Rowe - Peterborough United

Two wins in three matches have enhanced Peterborough's chances of surviving the drop from the Championship and at the heart of this turnaround is Rowe's performance. The 24-year-old defender / winger was on target in Posh's 3-0 win at Wolves and scored an 87th-minute winner against Barnsley at home.

Corry Evans - Hull City

Evans was another important performer for Hull over the festive period, as his performances in the defensive side of things helped his side keep the clean sheets. The versatile former Manchester United player was on target in their 2-0 win against Leeds in their final game of 2012.

Andre Moritz - Crystal Palace

Andre Moritz was the star of the show for Palace as they got the better of Wolves 3-1 at home on New Year's Day. He scored twice, one in each half, and was also an important figure in midfield in his side's 2-2 away draw with Nottingham Forest.

Thomas Ince - Blackpool

Ince continued his impressive form for Blackpool this season over the festive period and was a handful for the Hull defenders in their goalless draw at home on New Year's Day. Eldin Jakupovic had to be on top of his game to deny the 20-year-old a goal.

Ruben Rochina - Blackburn Rovers

Blackburn have recorded two wins out of two and Rochina has scored in both of the matches. He was a key players for the managerless Championship club in their 3-1 away win at Barnsley and opened the scoring for Rovers against Forest on New Year's Day in a game that they won 3-0.

Matej Vydra - Watford

The 20-year-old Czech striker was the star player for Watford against Brighton, as he scored twice in two minutes in the second half to lead them to a 3-1 away win. Manager Gianfranco Zola dropped Vydra from his starting lineup for their encounter against Charlton at home, and they went down 4-3, the decision underlining that the youngster should have been kept in the team.

Billy Sharp - Nottingham Forest

The 26-year-old scored three goals in three matches over the past two or so weeks, helping Forest edge close to a playoff spot. Sharp scored an injury-time equaliser against Palace at home to earn a 2-2 draw in their final game of 2012, just three days after scoring a brace in their 4-2 triumph over Leeds at the City Ground.

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