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Champ Top Men: Derby day heroes get call

Derby day heroes David Dunn, Richard Keogh and Peter Clarke all earn places in TEAMtalk's Top Men, our team of the week in the Championship.

Last Updated: 18/03/13 at 15:27 Post Comment

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Here's TEAMtalk's latest top XI from England's second tier. We explain our selections and then invite you to pick your team of top men. We're looking for the players who caught your eye with dazzling displays or powerful performances in this weekend's Championship action

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): Darlow; Hassell, Shittu, Clarke, Keogh; Edwards, Dunn, Cowie; Ulloa, Zigic, Doyle.

Karl Darlow - Nottingham Forest

Since being promoted into the first team at Nottingham Forest in the wake of Lee Camp's departure, Darlow has fully justified the faith the Reds have shown in his potential. Still only 22 years of age, he has been thrown in at the deep end, but has responded with a number of assured displays. The latest of those came on Saturday against Hull City, as he helped to frustrate the hosts at the KC Stadium. Darlow provided a reliable last line of defence as Forest prevailed 2-1 and collected their sixth straight success.

Bobby Hassell - Barnsley

Barnsley have found some form at just the right time, with back-to-back victories having lifted them out of the relegation zone. They are only two points clear of the bottom three, but will feel that momentum is with them in their efforts to steer clear of trouble. Another welcome win was collected in a home date with Watford on Saturday, with the high-flying Hornets brought back down to earth with a bump at Oakwell. One goal was all the Tykes needed to take the points, with Hassell stepping off the bench to power home a towering header - his first effort of the season.

Danny Shittu - Millwall

Having booked a day out at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-finals, Millwall were riding a crest of a wave when they made the short trip to capital rivals Charlton on Saturday. The Lions needed to replicate their cup heroics in the league, after suffering seven defeats in eight, and did just that as they swept to a 2-0 victory at The Valley. Club captain Shittu was a commanding presence at the heart of their back four and barely put a foot wrong as Millwall secured their first clean sheet since 15th December, and only their eighth of the campaign.

Peter Clarke - Huddersfield Town

Derby victories are made all the sweeter when collected on the road, and Huddersfield left Elland Road on Saturday celebrating a 2-1 win over West Yorkshire rivals Leeds. The Terriers have struggled for consistency for much of the season, but have done enough over recent weeks to keep themselves clear of a basement battle. They are fast closing in on the 50-point mark which should be enough to preserve their second tier status. They will be looking for Clarke and his defensive colleagues to help them over that particular line, with the experienced centre-half having led by example once again against Leeds.

Richard Keogh - Derby County

This is where we start to put square pegs in round holes in this week's Championship selection, but Keogh deserves to make the grade and should have no problem slotting in on the left of our back four. He was another involved in derby action on Saturday, with Derby playing host to East Midlands foes Leicester. The Rams secured local bragging rights in a 2-1 win, with a much-needed success breaking an eight-match winless run. Keogh put Derby on their way at Pride Park, with his glancing header breaking the deadlock with just 16 minutes on the clock.

Carlos Edwards - Ipswich Town

Another player being asked to play slightly out of position in our starting XI, but Edwards has played enough football on the wing to suggest that he would not look out of place in midfield. The 34-year-old has slipped back into defence over the years, but found himself well forward on Saturday as he helped Ipswich to a welcome 1-0 win over in-form Bolton. The Trotters were denied a sixth straight win at Portman Road as Edwards calmly fired in the only goal of the game, with the Trinidadian slotting home after seeing his first effort blocked.

David Dunn - Blackburn Rovers

The third derby day hero to make our ranks arrives in the form of Blackburn midfielder Dunn. On his day, the former England international remains a force to be reckoned with and more than capable of troubling the best the Championship has to offer. As a diehard Rover, he will have been fired up more than most for a home date with arch-rivals Burnley on Sunday. He would not have been too impressed at seeing Blackburn trail for much of the afternoon, but arrived on cue in the dying seconds to snatch a dramatic leveller and a share of the spoils.

Don Cowie - Cardiff City

With Hull City, Watford and Crystal Palace all losing, it was another good weekend for Championship table-toppers Cardiff. The Bluebirds may have dropped more points than they would have liked over recent weeks, but they remain in complete control at the summit and have their fate squarely in their own hands. A 2-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday was collected with the minimum of fuss, and they are now seven points clear with a game in hand. Cowie opened the scoring at Hillsborough, with the Scot sliding home his second goal of the season.

Leonardo Ulloa - Brighton & Hove Albion

Brighton remain on the fringes of the play-off places, but only goal difference is keeping them out of the top six. They were another side pleased to see a number of their fellow promotion chasers come unstuck in their latest outings, with Leicester's defeat at Derby doing them a favour. Gus Poyet's side ensured that there was no untimely stumble from them as they eased to an impressive 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace. Ulloa was the Seagulls' star of the show as he bagged a brace, with the Argentine playmaker having now netted five times in his last two outings at the AMEX Stadium.

Nikola Zigic - Birmingham City

It is fair to say that the 2012/13 campaign has been something of a mixed bag for Zigic and Birmingham. The towering frontman was dropped recently for displaying an apparent lack of effort in training, but has responded to a public dressing down from his boss by knuckling down and forcing his way back into Lee Clark's thoughts. He remains a useful weapon in the Blues' arsenal, with his height posing a considerable threat to opposition defences. It was, however, on the ground that he made a telling impact against Middlesbrough on Saturday, with the Serbian striker sliding in to bundle home the only goal of the game late on at the Riverside.

Kevin Doyle - Wolves

Doyle is an international performer who has impressed on the Premier League stage in the past, so his quality has never been in doubt. He has, however, struggled alongside the rest of his Wolves colleagues this season. Doyle headed into the weekend in the middle of his worst barren spell in front of goal. The relief when he found the target to hand Wolves a crucial 2-1 victory over Bristol City was clear for all to see, with a 78th-minute winner seeing him net for the first time in 2013 and for the first time at Molineux since October.

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