The 25 best players in the Championship – Will they stay or will they go?

Posted by on Jan 27, 2012 in Championship, The Seventy Two | One Comment

In November, you voted for the 25 best players in the Championship. In December, The Seventy Two published, in no particular order, 25 articles containing a total of over 15,000 words on those 25 players. As the January transfer window ticks towards a conclusion, here’s a very brief update on the fortunes of all 25… Will any be on the move before February arrives?

Kevin McNaughton (Cardiff City)

Still with Cardiff City. This week helped to secure yet another Wembley trip for the Bluebirds. Cardiff have now only lost one league game since 18th October. Not the subject of any transfer speculation.

Craig Mackail-Smith (Brighton and Hove Albion)

Still with Brighton and Hove Albion. The Seagulls have won all three league games in January after four defeats in a row to end 2011, but Mackail-Smith’s last goal was back in November. Not the subject of any transfer speculation.

Albert Adomah (Bristol City)

Still with Bristol City. Perhaps another victim of the curse that has struck Mackail-Smith since being voted onto the list, Adomah has five goals this season but none in the past two months. Recently reported by the Daily Mirror to have interested Fulham and Swansea City, but any move looks unlikely.

Andy King (Leicester City)

Still with Leicester City. Currently injured, King was badly off-form even before he was ruled out for a number of weeks prior to Leicester’s FA Cup clash with Nottingham Forest. In the two games Leicester have played without King, they have scored six without reply against Forest and Southampton. Not the subject of any transfer speculation.

Gary Taylor-Fletcher (Blackpool)

Still at Blackpool. Four goals in his first ten games of the season, but none in his last fourteen. Not the subject of any transfer speculation.

Chris Burke (Birmingham City)

Still at Birmingham City. Two goals in his last three games. As things stand, even more important to Blues after the sale of fellow winger Jean Beausejour to Wigan Athletic. Will remain with the club.

Rickie Lambert (Southampton)

Still at Southampton. No goals since 18th December. Has missed the last three games after his sending off at Brighton. Not the subject of any transfer speculation.

Grant McCann (Peterborough United)

Still at Peterborough United. Has been out injured for around six weeks but looks set to return this weekend. Not the subject of any transfer speculation.

Nicky Maynard (Bristol City)

Still at Bristol City but currently available for transfer after failing to sign a new contract. As things stand, free to leave the club for nothing in the summer although talk of a move (possibly to Wigan Athletic) persists. One of the more likely on this list to leave their current club, but a stand-off of sorts exists as Maynard considers his options. The Mirror’s latest blindfolded dart lands somewhere in the Merseyside region.

Ross McCormack (Leeds United)

Still at Leeds United. Has scored twice in his last three league games. Will stay at Elland Road.

Jimmy Kebe (Reading)

Still at Reading. This week signed a new contract with the club following investment at the Madejski Stadium.

Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester City)

Still at Leicester City. Has only conceded five goals in his last seven games, including two clean sheets in Leicester’s last two games. Tenuously linked with Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton but not by any credible sources.

George Boyd (Peterborough United)

Still at Peterborough United. Last scored in Posh’s last win – a 1-0 victory at Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day. Not the subject of any transfer speculation.

Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)

Still at Crystal Palace. Currently one of the darlings of the Championship following his high-profile showings in the Carling Cup against Manchester United and Cardiff City. Recently signed a five-and-a-half year contract at Selhurst Park so appears set to stay for the foreseeable future.

Jay Rodriguez (Burnley)

Still at Burnley. Recently linked with Newcastle United, although it has been reported that the Clarets have rejected an initial approach. A possible target for other clubs, but looks more likely to stay at Turf Moor until the summer unless a large bid is received.

Robert Snodgrass (Leeds United)

Still at Leeds United. Subject of much transfer speculation, but nothing of any substance. It seems highly unlikely that he would leave Elland Road hot on the heels of captain Jonny Howson.

Billy Sharp (Doncaster Rovers)

Still at Doncaster Rovers. Reportedly rejected a move to Leicester City but is also yet to sign a lucrative new deal on offer at the Keepmoat Stadium. Looks a strong candidate to move before the window closes – Reading seem to be getting mentioned a lot with their new money in mind.

James Chester (Hull City)

Still at Hull City. Reportedly a target of Nigel Pearson at Leicester City, although it seems very unlikely that Hull would sell to Leicester given their bullishness over Pearson’s exit and subsequent bids for Cameron Stewart. Leicester will look elsewhere.

Kevin Nolan (West Ham United)

Still at West Ham United. Scored the Hammers’ first goal of 2012 in a 1-0 win over Coventry. A cast-iron certainty to remain at Upton Park.

Marvin Emnes (Middlesbrough)

Still at Middlesbrough. Last league goal came on 1st November, since which his strike partner Scott MacDonald has scored seven times in the Championship. Not the subject of any transfer speculation.

Lee Camp (Nottingham Forest)

Still at Nottingham Forest. Has conceded nine goals in his last three games. Not the subject of any transfer speculation.

Peter Whittingham (Cardiff City)

Still at Cardiff City. High-profile at present due to his part in sending the Bluebirds to Wembley and the verge of an automatic promotion place. Despite this, certain to stay in south Wales.

Jacob Butterfield (Barnsley)

Still at Barnsley. Misses the rest of the season due to an injury picked up on New Year’s Eve in the 4-1 win over Leeds United. Strongly linked with Aston Villa recently.

Mark Noble (West Ham United)

Still at West Ham United. Has scored the Hammers’ last three goals – all penalties. Will stay at Upton Park.

Adam Lallana (Southampton)

Still at Southampton. Missed Saints’ last game through injury. Will stay at St Mary’s.

So why are so few of the players voted as the best in the Championship in demand this January? Were the wrong players picked? Or is this simply the quietest January transfer window for years? Perhaps most importantly, are other Premier League clubs open to the same Football League-centric recruitment policy that seems to be suiting Norwich City so well at present?

The Seventy Two
The Seventy Two published an outstanding series of articles about the Football League between 2010-12 and was the brainchild of Leicester City fan, David Bevan. As well as collaborating with The Two Unfortunates on the Football League Blog Network and a mammoth 2011-12 season preview, the site featured a host of leading bloggers and David was rewarded with a nomination in the 2011 Football Supporters’ Federation awards. Latterly, he was joined as co-editor by Joe Harrison and TTU is happy to present this archive of the site’s output.

1 Comment

  1. onedavebamber
    January 27, 2012

    With regards to GTF, he’s come under a lot of criticism from Blackpool fans lately, with a certain level of justification.

    Taylor-Fletcher’s form has been poor for the last two months or so, for a couple of reasons. He’s been shifted around a few different positions, and lately has found himself out of the starting line-up. Whereas the spot on the right of the front three was always his, Holloway has been using pace on both flanks with Matt Phillips and Tom Ince (previously Callum McManaman before his loan ended).

    The advanced midfield role has not suited GTF, and the central striker role has been occupied by Lua Lua. With one forward signing today (and perhaps another to follow), I suspect Taylor-Fletcher will struggle to nail down a spot in the 2nd half of the season and may spend a lot of time on the bench, or even in the stands.

    Right now, I’d argue he’s not one of the best 25 players in the Championship unfortunately. I hope he can turn things round and it’s a bit premature to write him off, but the team looks to be moving beyond him. Fingers crossed he proves me wrong.


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