MX23RW : Wednesday, January 23 21:03:40

Sports Mole's Championship Team of the Week

Sports Mole selects the top XI performers from the latest round of Championship action, as well as picking out the best goal and biggest numpty.

Brighton & Hove Albion saw their slender lead at the top of the Championship cut down even further this weekend as they stretched their winless run to three games.

The big winners of matchday eight were Reading, who showed yet again that they are real contenders for promotion this season by beating second-place Middlesbrough 2-0 at the Madejski Stadium.

Birmingham City, Hull City and Burnley all join Reading on 18 points, meanwhile, having each picked up victories across the duration of the Football League weekend.

Elsewhere, Derby County maintained their push for a playoff place by making it four wins in five games, while down the other end of the table Bristol City were dealt a cruel, late blow in their early relegation six-pointer against MK Dons at Ashton Gate.

Following the latest round of action, Sports Mole chooses its top XI, as well as highlighting the biggest numpty and top goal from across each game.


Allan McGregor (Hull City)
Steve Bruce put his side's victory down to the work of his defence and goalkeeper, with McGregor in particular putting in a man-of-the-match display at the City Ground.

Cyrus Christie (Derby County)
A solid defensive display to earn the Rams a clean sheet, while also producing a fine delivery for Chris Martin's goal.
Curtis Davies (Hull City)
Played a key part in four clean sheets so far this season, clearing off the line late on to keep the shutout intact for the Tigers.
Michael Dawson (Hull City)
It comes as little surprise that Hull boast the joint-best defensive record in the division, with Davies and Dawson both capable of plying their trade in the top flight.
Paul McShane (Reading)
Ended the game sporting a bandage on his head, which is always a sign of a player who has put his body on the line. In the division's top three for clearances this season.

Tom Ince (Derby County)
Not at his best last weekend but still managed to claim a goal and assist. Built on that tally by tucking home a fine George Thorne pass to keep Derby's momentum going on Saturday.
Johnnie Jackson (Charlton Athletic)
The Addicks were seemingly down and out at 2-0 when Jackson was finally introduced, but the influential skipper scored with his first touch to spearhead a drive for a share of the spoils. Must now remain injury free.
Joey Barton (Burnley)
His experience in the middle of the park will be key for the Clarets this season. An assured display against Rotherham in his first start for the club on the weekend, but tougher tests are still to come.
Nick Blackman (Reading)
Ended September with four goals and a couple of assists, while it is now nine goals for the season in all competitions with just two months played after scoring late on against Middlesbrough.

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (Queens Park Rangers)
With Charlie Austin now on the sidelines, QPR needed someone to step up when trailing by two goals at home to Bolton Wanderers. The Hoops showed great spirit and eventually took all three points thanks in large to the work of Emmanuel-Thomas on his first league start.
Jordan Rhodes (Blackburn Rovers)
It is difficult to think of any striker over the past few years at this level as consistently good as Rhodes. The Scotsman now has seven for the campaign, including two on the weekend to make it five in five on his way to earning all three points against a stuttering Ipswich Town.


Numpty of the week

Nick Pope (Charlton Athletic)

A few contenders for the accolade this weekend, but Pope's failure to hold on to Ross McCormack's rather tame free kick, just moments after flapping at another ball into the box, sees him come out on top. The error allowed Ryan Tunnicliffe to tap home, yet the Cottagers were unable to see the job through despite adding a second on the hour mark.

Goal of the week

Tjaronn Chery (Queens Park Rangers) vs. Bolton Wanderers

Emmanuel Thomas's strike to win it was nice, but the goal that came beforehand from Chery was even better. A superb curled effort into the top corner of the net from 20 yards out left Ben Amos with no chance whatsoever.


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Charlton's Jordan Cousins in action against Dag & Red during a friendly match on July 23, 2013
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Result: Cousins rescues Charlton a point
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Leeds UnitedLeeds28166647301754
2Norwich CityNorwich28158552361653
3West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom28148657352250
4Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd28155846291750
5Middlesbrough281211531201147
6Derby CountyDerby2813784035546
7Bristol City2812883529644
8Hull City28117104135640
9Swansea CitySwansea28117103732540
10Blackburn RoversBlackburn28101083741-440
11Birmingham CityBirmingham2891274033739
12Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest2891273932739
13Aston Villa2891275145639
14Queens Park RangersQPR28116113439-539
15Stoke CityStoke2891183335-238
16Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds2898113345-1235
17Brentford28810104339434
18Preston North EndPreston2889114345-233
19Millwall2878133444-1029
20Wigan AthleticWigan2885152841-1329
21Rotherham UnitedRotherham28510132746-1925
22Reading2858153143-1223
23Bolton WanderersBolton2857161842-2422
24Ipswich TownIpswich2839162248-2618

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