The official EFL's Championship Team of the Week:
GK – Joe Wildsmith (Sheffiled Wednesday
Garry Monk’s men dented Bristol City’s play-off hopes as the Sheffield Wednesday saw out a 2-1 victory at Ashton Gate on Sunday afternoon.
Between the sticks, Joe Wildsmith ensured that only one of the Robins’ seven shots slipped past him, that coming after a superb save from a Nathan Baker header.
Wildsmith is the third Wednesday ‘keeper vying for the number one spot, seemingly displacing Cameron Dawson since the re-start of the season. His performance on Sunday will have done very little to damage his chances of keeping his starting place.
RB – Jayden Bogle (Derby County)
A 2-1 victory against Reading at the weekend saw Derby County cut the gap to the play-offs to just three points, something that seemed unlikely after their poor start to the campaign.
Teenage full-back Jayden Bogle continues to impress with his mature performances, managing two tackles and a pass completion rate of 94%.
The defender is accompanied in the Rams starting line-up with other academy products Louie Sibley and Max Bird, with all three grabbing the headlines in Derby’s late play-off push.
CB – Ethan Pinnock (Brentford)
Two huge results for Brentford has seen them climb to third in the table and move just five points off the top two. Their 2-0 victory against Fulham last week was followed up with a much tighter 1-0 win at home to West Bromwich Albion.
Key to their clean sheet successes is £3 million-man Ethan Pinnock. The 27-year old dominated the West Brom attack, winning eleven aerial duels and two tackles, limiting the Baggies to just two shots on target all game.
The result means Brentford close in on second-placed West Brom; the race for promotion is on.
CB – Sean Morrison (Cardiff City)
Pre-Covid-19 interruption, Cardiff City were sat ninth in the table. Two emphatic victories against table toppers Leeds United and sixth Preston North End means the Bluebirds now occupy the final play-off place.
Their 3-1 victory against the Lilywhites at the weekend illustrated an inspired performance by captain Sean Morrison. Preston, who average the most long balls in the division, met their match in Morrison, who won ten aerial duels and two tackles.
With just a five-point gap down to twelfth place, Cardiff will be hoping they can hold onto their play-off spot for the remainder of the season.
LB – Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic)
Wigan Athletic’s outstanding pre-lockdown form has been carried into the season re-start. The Latic’s 2-0 victory over Lancashire neighbours Blackburn Rovers means they are now unbeaten in a massive eight league games, including clean sheets in each of their last six outings.
Full-back Antonee Robsinson hit the headlines in January when his failed medical meant a move to Italian giants AC Milan fell through on Deadline Day. His fitness, however, was no worry on Saturday.
Robinson completed twenty-one accurate passes as well as two successful dribbles. The American international also showed his worth defensively with two aerial duels won as well as two tackles.
Wigan's fantastic form has seen them climb up to seventeenth in the table. However, just five points separate them from third-bottom Huddersfield Town, meaning work is still to be done to secure the Tics safety.
RM – Pablo Hernandez (Leeds United)
Leeds were dismantled 2-0 by Cardiff City in the first week back to Championship football, but the Whites ensured that was a distant memory on Saturday afternoon.
A 3-0 win against promotion rivals Fulham seemed unlikely at half-time, however, timely changes by Marcelo Bielsa saw Spanish playmaker Pablo Hernandez introduced.
Hernandez tilted the games momentum, aiding Leeds creatively and providing a stunning assist for the third goal.
Now 35, Hernandez will be hoping United’s now eight point gap to third place is enough to secure the first promotion of his career.
CM – Darren Pratley (Charlton Athletic)
Lee Bowyer’s Charlton Athletic will be one of the most grateful sides that the season continue rather than finished on a points-per-game basis. The Addicks would have been relegated if the season was forced to end, yet with two wins on the bounce they are now out of the relegation places.
Veteran midfielder Darren Pratley scored the only goal in a 1-0 win against Queens Park Rangers at the weekend, whilst also dictating the play from the centre of midfield.
The Addicks travel to Cardiff midweek, a vital game at either end of the table.
CM – Gary Gardner (Birmingham City)
Hull City thought their fortunes were finally turning at the weekend as they found themselves 2-0 up inside the first sixteen minutes. However, Gary Gardner pulled one back for Birmingham City after half-time before Dan Crowley levelled the scores at sixty minutes.
Hull began dreaming again when Herbie Kane made it 3-2, yet Gardener spoilt the Tigers chances of a first win since New Years Day with a 88th minute equaliser.
Gardner’s brace was coupled with four aerial duels won as well as two tackles, an all-round performance from the Birmingham-born man.
LM – Jack Harrison (Leeds United)
On loan Manchester City winger Jack Harrison is enjoying his best season in English football to date.
As the White’s took advantage of a poor Fulham side, Harrison added to both is goal-scoring and his assist tally for the season, setting up Gjanni Alioski in the 56th minute, before slotting the ball between the ‘keepers legs to score himself in the 71st.
Harrison is now on six goals and eight assists for the season, with Leeds hoping they can hold onto the services of the 23-year-old on a permanent basis next year.
ST – James Collins (Luton Town)
The great escape is on for Luton Town. The Hatter’s 1-0 win away to Swansea City means they are just three points of safety with plenty of games left for a turnaround.
James Collins was the star for Luton last season, finding the net twenty-five times over the course of the campaign. His first season in the Championship has been a respectable tally for the Republic of Ireland international, with the striker bagging his twelfth of the season at the weekend.
Now unbeaten in five, Collins form in front of goal will be key if the Hatter’s are to pull of something special in the remaining games of the season.
ST – Lewis Grabban (Nottingham Forest)
Lewis Grabban did what Lewis Grabban does best at the weekend. The striker was as potent as ever in front of goal as Nottingham Forest beat struggling Huddersfield Town 3-1 at the City Ground.
Grabban opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time, a deft volley from a Joe Worrall cross, before doubling his tally, and Forest's lead, in the 46th minute.
Grabban now has nineteen goals for the season, chasing down the division’s top scorers Aleksander Mitrovic and Ollie Watkins. Whilst Forest’s hope of the automatic places is slimming, three points puts the pressure on the top two, as well as distancing themselves from the play-off chasing pack.