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Championship Top Men: Gestede City's main man

Leeds' Rodolph Austin, Cardiff's Rudy Gestede and Leicester striker Jeffrey Schlupp feature in our Championship Top Men XI.

Last Updated: 17/04/13 at 13:06 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 the two most recent rounds of 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.

Matt Gilks - Blackpool

Matt Gilks was Blackpool's hero this week as the Tangerines picked up four points from two games to extend their unbeaten run to five matches. In Saturday's 1-0 win at home to Burnley, Gilks pulled off impressive saves to deny Junior Stanislas and Ross Wallace before the break as Paul Ince's side picked up a vital three points. The 30-year old was in equally inspired form in Tuesday night's 0-0 draw with Sheffield Wednesday. He denied Jermaine Johnson twice in the opening stages before palming away a 25-yard strike from Giles Coke. The two results have seen Blackpool move four points clear of the relegation zone with just three games remaining.

Sam Byram - Leeds United

Young full-back Sam Byram continued to impress, with eye-catching performances in both of Leeds' recent wins. The 19-year old has been ever present in the United side this year and it's no surprise that his displays have attracted interest from a number of Premier League clubs. In Saturday's win over Sheffield Wednesday, he managed to keep the Owls quiet down the left-hand side, putting in a number of crucial blocks in the 2-1 win. He maintained his form in Tuesday's 1-0 victory over Burnley, demonstrating his ability to find the right balance between attack and defence, as he posed one of the Whites' biggest threats going forward, while remaining reliable in his defensive duties with a number of smart tackles.

Matthew Upson - Brighton

Former England defender Matthew Upson put in two strong performances as Brighton picked up four points on the road this week to move up to fourth place. The Seagulls were 2-0 winners at Middlesbrough on Saturday and they remained tight at the back as the hosts desperately tried to reignite their play-off hopes. Brighton upheld their defensive record with another clean sheet in Tuesday night's 0-0 draw away to Peterborough. Upson almost gave his side the lead when his header from a David Lopez corner rattled the bar, but they were made to settle for a point against a resurgent Posh. Gus Poyet's men are now three points clear of seventh and this week's results have inched them closer to sealing a play-off spot.

Scott Dann - Blackburn Rovers

Blackburn centre-half Scott Dann played a crucial part in both of Rovers' victories as they took the pressure away from their rapid slide towards the drop zone. Saturday's 2-0 defeat of Derby was their first win since February's FA Cup triumph away to Arsenal, and their first win in 11 league games. Dann doubled the lead in first-half stoppage-time with a header and he helped to keep Derby out during their onslaught of attacks in the second half. The former Birmingham defender then turned provider in Tuesday night's victory over relegation-threatened Huddersfield, when he headed into the path of Jordan Rhodes to net the winner. Blackburn remain just two points clear of the bottom three but they do boast a game in hand over their rivals at the foot of the table.

Craig Alcock - Peterborough United

Peterborough's versatile defender Craig Alcock helped his side to two impressive results this week as they made it 10 games unbeaten. Posh were 3-2 winners at home to third place Watford on Saturday in what was one of their finest performances of the season despite a nervy ending to the game. Alcock also starred in Tuesday night's 0-0 draw with Brighton, another team chasing promotion, as Peterborough moved away from the relegation zone. After their remarkable run of form, Darren Ferguson's side are currently 20th in the league, but are only outside of the bottom three thanks to their goal difference.

Nathan Redmond - Birmingham City

Birmingham's 19-year old winger caught the eye yet again as his side picked up four points from their two away trips. In Friday's 2-2 draw at Leicester, he terrorised the Foxes' defence all game and he was prevented from finding the net by Kasper Schmeichel on a number of occasions. He also featured in Birmingham's opener, exchanging passes with Paul Caddis who set up Nikola Zigic to finish. In Tuesday's 1-0 win at Bristol City, he was also on hand, playing in Wade Elliott for the winner after an intelligent run. Both performances confirmed why Redmond is one of the most sought-after players outside of the top flight, with a host of Premier League sides reported to be keeping tabs on the youngster.

Rodolph Austin - Leeds United

Leeds United's Jamaican international Rodolph Austin helped the Whites to back-to-back victories as they ended their run of seven games without a win. Austin was instrumental in Saturday's 2-1 win at home to Sheffield Wednesday and he netted the winner, his first league goal since September, to seal a 1-0 win over Burnley on Tuesday night. After a well-worked build-up, Austin latched onto a smart through ball floated in by El-Hadji Diouf, guiding it past a helpless Lee Grant to ensure that Brian McDermott continued his 100% win ratio since taking charge at Elland Road. Leeds are now up to 11th in the league, with any outside fears of relegation seemingly eased by these two results.

Johnnie Jackson - Charlton Athletic

Charlton captain Johnnie Jackson led the Addicks to two impressive results as Chris Powell's side continued to stride up the league. In Saturday's 6-0 demolition away to Barnsley, Jackson bagged Charlton's second after beating two defenders. He then helped his team to a 0-0 draw away to league leaders Cardiff on Tuesday night as Charlton made it five games unbeaten. The former Spurs midfielder almost opened the scoring when his first-half free-kick clipped the woodwork but neither team was able to break the deadlock in a result which saw the hosts promoted. Charlton are now up to ninth in the league and, with six points separating themselves and the top six, they can be considered outsiders for a play-off spot.

Wade Elliott - Birmingham City

Birmingham managed to ease their relegation fears thanks to Wade Elliott's strike in Tuesday night's 1-0 win away to Bristol City. The winger also played his part in Friday's draw at promotion chasers Leicester but he scored what proved to be the vital goal at Ashton Gate as the Blues picked up their first win in four. Elliott slotted home the only goal in the 16th minute, when he finished past Tom Heaton after some good work from Nathan Redmond. The result condemned Bristol City to relegation but with Birmingham's safety still not secure, they needed the win to create a six-point cushion between themselves and the bottom three.

Rudy Gestede - Cardiff City

Striker Rudy Gestede, 24, scored a brace in Cardiff's 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest on Saturday, and he was prominent in Tuesday's 0-0 draw with Charlton as the Welsh club sealed their promotion to the Premier League. In Saturday's win, Gestede doubled Cardiff's lead from close range on the hour before adding his second just six minutes later with a precise header from a Craig Bellamy corner, taking the Benin international's goal tally for the season to five. Because of other results, a 0-0 draw was enough for Cardiff to clinch their place in the top flight, allowing Malky Mackay's side the opportunity to relax in their final three games of the season.Jeffrey Schlupp - Leicester City

Ghanaian striker Jeffrey Schlupp netted two goals in two games as Leicester climbed back into the top six. In Friday night's 2-2 draw with Birmingham, Schlupp headed home to put the Foxes 2-1 up, only for them to be denied the three points by a late Chris Burke penalty. The 20-year old was on the score sheet again on Tuesday night as Leicester picked up their first win in 10 games with a dramatic 3-2 victory at home to fellow play-off hopefuls Bolton. Schlupp netted the winner with a volley just 11 minutes from time as he helped to keep their promotion hopes alive. Nigel Pearson's side moved back into sixth place, just one point ahead of Tuesday night's opponents, Bolton.

Who were you impressed by in the Championship? Let us know by posting a Comment below!

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