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Still going strong

I have picked out some Championship golden oldies who have impressed so far this season and others who, when fit, won't fail to.

Last Updated: 04/10/13 at 17:27 Post Comment

Joey Barton: who else made Beags' experienced XI?

Joey Barton: who else made Beags' experienced XI?

I wouldn't mind managing this lot and have put them into a 3-4-1-2 formation.

Let me know what you think of my side...

Goalkeeper - Robert Green (33)

Nine games in the Championship for the former England custodian and seven consecutive clean sheets, but rather than take the credit himself, Green has showered praise on the QPR defenders in front of him. However, he has helped organise and direct that rearguard and on the occasions it has been breached, he has pulled off some outstanding saves.

Centre-backs - Jason Shackell (30); Richard Dunne (34); Clint Hill (34)

Shackell's performances have been as impressive as his table-topping Burnley side's; brilliant in the air and no slouch on the floor either, Jason's partnership with centre-half buddy Michael Duff is as important to the Clarets as 17-goal strikers Danny Ings and Sam Vokes.

Dunne, who would by my captain in a side full of captains, is a colossus and probably the most important signing Harry Redknapp made this summer at QPR. A fantastic reader of the game and still mobile enough to intercept and cover for others, Dunne has had a tremendous start and if Rangers' rock can stay injury free, his club's automatic promotion chances would be greater.

Dunne's team-mate Hill is first and foremost a win-at-any-costs man; brave as a lion and a players' player, he demands as much from others as he does from himself. Clint can fill in in a number of positions, is never afraid of confrontation and is a manager's dream.

Wingers - Shaun Wright Phillips (31); Lloyd Dyer (31)

Shaun has lost his way over recent years but I am sure that under Harry's unique man-management style he will flourish. A tireless worker, it is only a matter of time before he displays the amazing dribbling and long-range shooting abilities he possesses.

The jet-heeled Dyer has always been a favourite of mine ever since his MK Dons days; he is a wide man with electric pace who knows how to use it. The Leicester star is direct, backs defenders into the box and also has an eye for goal. He is effective on the left but can also operate on the other side and pulls defenders out of position, allowing strikers to profit.

Centre-midfielders - Mikele Leigertwood (30); Joey Barton (31)

Mikele is a bit of an unsung hero, patrolling the central defensive-midfield area and breaking up attacks, and then having the athleticism to travel through the pitch or see an early pass. Pivotal in Reading's promotion season, this quiet giant's form will have a big bearing on the Royals' assault on the Premier League this term.

The outspoken Barton has been very much the bonus ball for Redknapp and QPR. His quotes regarding not playing in the Championship are well documented but his attitude, application and team-ethic cannot be questioned. Joey could now mirror his achievements with Newcastle when he and a few other volatile characters united to take the Magpies straight back up to the Premier League.

Number 10 - Andy Reid (31)

Reid is my ace in the pack and as his ability needs freedom I am giving him that by allowing him to roam between the lines with no defensive duties or responsibilities whatsoever. Rolling back the years at Forest, he has already assisted several goals and found the net on five occasions. This little genius has vision, awareness and a radar-like accuracy with his passing. Andy is definitely a player I would pay good money to go and see.

Strikers - Ricardo Fuller (33); Grant Holt (32)

Ricardo has defied medical history for years such is his passion for football. Injuries apart, the maverick striker is capable of sublime moments of skill and self-belief and this was displayed when he scored the opener in Blackpool's 1-1 draw versus Huddersfield live on Sky, rounding the keeper and a grounded defender with no air of panic to notch his 100th career goal.

Holt, the injured Wigan warhorse, has squeezed out every ounce of ability to have a marvellous career. Big, strong and physical, yes, but also clever with his movement and possessing a sharp striker's intuition, making sure he's in the right place at the right time and, more often than not, providing the right type of finish. Grant has been a massive loss to Wigan but will be a huge boost upon his return.

My subs would be:

GK - Matt Gilks (31)

RB/RW - Kevin McNaughton (31)

CB - Matt Upson (34)

LB/LW - Wayne Bridge (33)

CM - Wade Elliott (34)

AM - David Dunn (33)

ST - Andrew Johnson (32)

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may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

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