Champ Top Men: Vydra retains place

Matej Vydra retains his place, while nine other clubs are represented in TEAMtalk's pick of the top Championship performers from the weekend.

Last Updated: 05/02/13 at 14:57 Post Comment

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 Championship.

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 (4-4-2): Marshall; De Laet, Keogh, Smith, Pugh; Burke, Bryson, Myler, Rowe; Rhodes, Vydra.

David Marshall - Cardiff City

Cardiff continued their relentless march towards promotion with a 1-0 victory over Leeds United on Saturday, but they had David Marshall to thank for a clean sheet as the goalkeeper pulled off a series of fine saves. He was kept busy throughout and denied Ross Barkley with a particularly good stop, before saving his best for last as he wonderfully kept out a Tom Lees header to help the Bluebirds surge 10 points clear at the summit.

Ritchie de Laet - Leicester City

Leicester's bid for a return to the Premier League has been built on the best defensive record in the Championship, and they were once again solid at the back in a 2-1 win against Wolverhampton Wanderers. The Foxes were only breached by a spectacular Bakary Sako strike and were otherwise in complete control as they claimed a fifth straight victory, with right-back De Laet posing a threat going forward as well as fulfilling his defensive duties.

Richard Keogh - Derby County

Richard Keogh celebrated his maiden call-up to the Republic of Ireland squad with a goal in Derby's convincing 3-0 success at home to Huddersfield Town. The Rams were already 2-0 ahead by the time Keogh headed in a Jamie Ward free-kick just before the hour mark to leave the result beyond any doubt. Keogh was also delighted to play an important part at centre-back, saying: "The clean sheet gives me as much satisfaction as scoring a goal - if not more."

Tommy Smith - Ipswich Town

Ipswich were the big winners of the weekend as they thrashed promotion hopefuls Middlesbrough 4-0 at Portman Road, and they had an unlikely hero as defender Smith bagged two goals. The versatile 22-year-old helped Town withstand an early period of Boro pressure before powerfully heading in a corner to break the deadlock. He later completed the scoring with another header as manager Mick McCarthy, watching from home after being laid low by a virus, was given a much-needed tonic.

Danny Pugh - Sheffield Wednesday

Pugh had an eventful game as Sheffield Wednesday overcame Brighton & Hove Albion 3-1 to further boost their survival hopes. It was his tackle on Inigo Calderon that sparked an ugly touchline melee in the second half, but Pugh also made a vital contribution to his side's victory. He doubled Wednesday's lead after Leroy Lita had opened the scoring and later set up Michail Antonio.

Chris Burke - Birmingham City

It is not surprising that Burke attracted plenty of interest in the January transfer window when he is capable of the type of performance he produced to inspire Birmingham to a 2-1 triumph over Nottingham Forest on Saturday. Forest were one of the sides keen to sign the winger and were given a perfect demonstration of what they were missing out on as he scored both his team's goals at St Andrew's, including a sumptuous opener from the edge of the area that went in off the underside of the bar.

Craig Bryson - Derby County

Bryson played a key role in Saturday's 3-0 victory over Huddersfield as he helped Derby boss the midfield area. He grabbed the opening goal midway through the first half when he tapped in from close range after a good run and cross by Paul Coutts. Bryson had already gone agonisingly close to scoring with a piledriver from distance which flew narrowly over, and he kept working hard right until the final whistle.

David Meyler - Hull City

Hull got their promotion bid back on track with a 1-0 win at Millwall on Saturday, and the crucial moment arrived inside the opening minute as Meyler struck his fourth goal of the season, taking advantage of a poor backpass by Mark Beevers to slot home with 45 seconds gone. The midfielder continued to give his all for the Tigers cause before being forced off with a knee injury in the second half.

Tommy Rowe - Peterborough United

Peterborough remain in trouble at the bottom of the table after having to settle for a 2-2 draw at home to Burnley, but Rowe delivered a captain's performance with two fine goals for Posh. Having cancelled out Charlie Austin's early opener, the winger put his side in front after a swift counter-attack. Unfortunately, Rowe's afternoon was ruined by a late equaliser from Martin Paterson for Burnley.

Jordan Rhodes - Blackburn Rovers

Rhodes again showed his lethal finishing prowess with a brace in Saturday's 2-0 victory over Bristol City, as he first latched on to a Morten Gamst Pedersen goal and then rolled a cool finish past Tom Heaton after being played in by Danny Murphy. The Scotland striker has now scored in five successive games and was even likened to Alan Shearer by Bristol City manager Sean O'Driscoll after the match.

Matej Vydra - Watford

On-loan striker Vydra kept up his scintillating form with a 19th goal of the season in Watford's 2-1 win at home to Bolton Wanderers. The Czech striker brought the Hornets level when he dummied before skipping past his defender to slot home from the centre of the penalty area. Vydra continued to pose the main threat to Bolton in the second half and provided the assist for Almen Abdi's winner 20 minutes from time.

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