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Championship Top Men: Calls for Clarets

Thursday 25th October 2012 13:22

Austin: Has moved onto 15 goals

Austin: Has moved onto 15 goals

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Two Teessiders and a pair of Clarets feature in TEAMtalk's Championship Top Men, our Elite XI from this week'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 (4-3-3) : Jason Steele; Stuart Parnaby, Daniel Ayala, Grant Hanley, Paul Konchesky; Jay Spearing, David Perkins, Chris McCann; Charlie Austin, Marlon King, Theo Robinson

Jason Steele - Middlesbrough

A productive week for Middlesbrough brought six points from two outings and back-to-back clean sheets. Boro edged out Brighton on the road at the weekend, before returning to the Riverside to see off Hull City. Steele continues to provide a reliable last line of defence for Tony Mowbray's side, with the 22-year-old among the most promising shot-stoppers in English football.

Stuart Parnaby - Middlesbrough

Parnaby is also celebrating consecutive shut-outs, with the experienced defender helping Middlesbrough climb back into the second tier play-off places. Victory at Brighton on Saturday was Boro's fourth successive away win, in Mowbray's 100th game in charge, and the North East outfit will now be hoping to kick on.

Daniel Ayala - Nottingham Forest

The week ended on a bit of a downer for Ayala as he was forced off during Nottingham Forest's 2-2 draw with Blackpool, but he will be hoping a hamstring complaint does not keep him out for long. Prior to exiting early at Bloomfield Road, the Spaniard had opened his goal account for Forest in an impressive 3-1 victory over high-flying Cardiff.

Grant Hanley - Blackburn Rovers

Blackburn remain without a manager, but caretaker coach Eric Black has guided them back into the top six. Rovers returned to the promotion-chasing pack on Tuesday as they secured a narrow victory over Sheffield Wednesday. Hanley was the hero of the hour at Ewood Park, with his solitary strike ending a five-match run without a win.

Paul Konchesky - Leicester City

Leicester were unable to stretch a run of consecutive wins to six games against Birmingham at the weekend, but they still took a point from that contest and three from a midweek meeting with Brighton. The Foxes now sit top of the Championship table, with Konchesky and his defensive colleagues forming part of the second meanest back four in the division.

Jay Spearing - Bolton Wanderers

A loan spell at Bolton was intended to help Spearing find his form by taking in regular games, and the Liverpool man has settled quickly to life at the Reebok Stadium. His performances have improved markedly from the start of the campaign and he netted his first goal for the club in a 3-2 victory over Bristol City on Saturday.

David Perkins - Barnsley

Barnsley are once again proving to be a tough nut to crack, with Keith Hill able to bring the best out of a small but hard-working squad. Perkins is among those to have made the step up at Oakwell from lower down the League ladder, with the 30-year-old proving there are hidden gems to be found. He was on target against Crystal Palace on Tuesday as the Tykes made it four points from two outings.

Chris McCann - Burnley

Burnley stalwart McCann has helped the Clarets to offer a positive response to the loss of manager Eddie Howe to Bournemouth. It has been an up and down season for the men from Turf Moor, but back-to-back victories over Blackpool and Bristol City have them moving in the right direction. McCann was among the goals in a 4-3 victory over the Robins on Tuesday.

Charlie Austin - Burnley

As mentioned, Burnley were able to take maximum points from their last two fixtures. Unsurprisingly, it was Austin who led the victory charge. The highly-rated striker has been in red hot form this season and has taken his goal tally to 15 after netting the winner against Blackpool and a brace against Bristol City.

Marlon King - Birmingham City

Four points clear of the drop zone is not where Birmingham would have expected to be 12 games into the season, but that is where they find themselves. A lack of goals has been something of a problem, but in King the Blues boast a striker who knows where the back of the net is. He showed that on Tuesday with a hat-trick to salvage an unlikely point at Millwall.

Theo Robinson - Derby County

Robinson has found form in front of goal in recent weeks, taking him to the top of Derby's scoring charts. The jet-heeled striker was on target in each of the Rams' two fixtures over the past week. First he rescued a point late on in a home date with Blackburn, before striking on the road in a 2-1 victory over Ipswich on Tuesday - helping to put the final nail in Paul Jewell's coffin.

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