Championship Top Men: Posh top notch

Tuesday 30th October 2012 12:09

George Boyd: Scored an astonishing goal against Huddersfield

George Boyd: Scored an astonishing goal against Huddersfield

Three Peterborough players feature in TEAMtalk's Championship Top Men, our Elite XI from this weekend's action in the second tier.

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 over the last weekend.

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 (4-3-1-2) : Paul Robinson; Kgosi Ntlhe, Grant Hanley, Mark Hudson, George Friend; Craig Noone, Elliot Grandin, George Boyd; Saido Berahino; Chris Wood, Marlon King.

Paul Robinson - Blackburn Rovers:

The former England No 1 was the only goalkeeper in the Championship to complete two shut-outs over the past week. The Blackburn keeper has had his issues with long-range shots in the top flight but at this level he is a commanding presence and ensured that managerless Rovers made it six points from two games despite finding the net just twice.

Kgosi Ntlhe - Peterborough:

Peterborough looked like a team who would be well advised to plan for life in League One after starting the season with seven consecutive defeats. Ntlhe started six of those games and the 18-year-old South African could be forgiven for being relieved to be withdrawn from the team after enduring that ordeal. But the right-back has forced his way back into the line-up and got his reward as Peterborough won both games, conceding just one goal in the process. And there was even a late goal for Ntlhe against Huddersfield to mark a triumphant return to the team.

Grant Hanley - Blackburn Rovers:

Hanley was part of the only defence to manage two clean sheets in the Championship last week. And the 20-year-old Scotland international even added to that achievement by helping out at the other end of the pitch too. Hanley scored the only goal of the game inside five minutes at home to Sheffield Wednesday in midweek and then kept the opposition out for the remainder of that game - and the next one - to help force Rovers back into the play-off positions in the second tier.

Mark Hudson - Cardiff City:

Cardiff enjoyed a superb week to maintain their grip at the top of the Championship table with wins over Watford and Burnley. The victory over the Hornets was something of a scrap and required a late winner but the triumph over the Clarets was more emphatic. Hudson produced a captain's performance to keep out free-scoring Burnley forward Charlie Austin as the Bluebirds kept their fifth clean sheet of the campaign.

George Friend - Middlesbrough:

Friend made his name at Exeter City as a youngster and even got a brief taste of Premier League football with Wolves as part of the under-strength side that earned the Molineux club a fine from the authorities. After being relegated from the Championship with Doncaster Rovers last season, the 25-year-old may have feared the chance to fulfil his potential would never come. But Friend has been a success at Boro and was the pick of the defence in wins over Hull and Bolton last week - providing a key assist for Faris Haroun's opener against the Tigers.

Craig Noone - Cardiff City:

The Cardiff winger can be a little hit-and-miss with his constant twisting and turning but Noone certainly delivered when it mattered this week. The 24-year-old came up with the cross against Watford for Aron Gunnarsson to convert a stoppage time winner last week. And Noone was the star of the show against Burnley, scoring one and twice hitting the woodwork in a dominant 4-0 thrashing at Cardiff City Stadium.

Elliot Grandin - Blackpool:

"I've given him four really important words; commitment, encouragement, enthusiasm and enjoyment and asked him 'where are they?'," Ian Holloway told Grandin earlier in October. "Until I get the right answers he won't get the chance to play." It seems the Blackpool boss got the answers he was looking for as he gave the Frenchman a chance off the bench against Nottingham Forest last week and the midfielder duly came up with an equaliser. Handed his first start of the season at the weekend, Grandin produced another late goal to earn a point against Brighton.

George Boyd - Peterborough:

If there is one man who can be credited with inspiring Peterborough's climb off the foot of the table it is probably the talismanic figure of Boyd. The London Road faithful have been accustomed to moments of magic from the mercurial magician but, even by his standards, the 35-yard effort against Huddersfield last week was extraordinary. Darren Ferguson dared draw favourable comparisons with Lionel Messi. Well, even the Argentine genius hasn't helped the Posh to 12 points in six games.

Saido Berahino - Peterborough:

"We have already asked the question about whether we can extend the loan to the end of the season," said Peterborough boss Ferguson after the latest heroics from the West Brom loanee on Saturday. After the 19-year-old Berahino played a part in Boyd's brace last week, the Burundian-born England Under 20 star bagged two goals of his own late on in the triumph over Derby. No wonder Ferguson is anxious to keep the young talent who has helped lift the Posh out of the relegation zone.

Chris Wood - Millwall:

Wood was one of only five players to score in both of his team's fixtures in the past week. But not only did the New Zealand international find the target on both occasions, he doubled up in both games too. While his brace against Birmingham was not good enough for all three points, he made up for that disappointment by blowing away high-flying Huddersfield with another two goals on Saturday. Like Berahino, Wood is on loan from the Baggies and another who may be getting Steve Clarke's attention if he can keep on producing performances like these.

Marlon King - Birmingham City:

The reason why Wood's two goals were not enough to ensure a Millwall win last Tuesday was all down to King. The controversial 32-year-old striker had been in unusually subdued mood this season, netting just four goals in his opening 12 games of the campaign. But with Blues three goals down inside 20 minutes against the Lions, King sparked to life. An 18-minute hat-trick either side of the interval stunned the home team at the Den and earned a point for Lee Clark's men. King then played his part in a hard-fought 1-0 win at Leeds United at the weekend.



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