With 2012 only a matter of days away, theseventytwo, an independent website offering opinions on the Football League, announced their results from the poll they conducted on Twitter to discover who the fans think is the best player in the Championship.
A number of players from the second tier of the English footballing pyramid have already been linked with a move to the top flight and it is no surprise to see their names appear in the 25-man shortlist.
Albert Adomah, a reported January transfer for Fulham, came in at #23 and the Ghanaian international is only in his second season out of League 2, where he plied his trade for Barnet. Another Fulham target, a club who have plundered the Championship in seasons gone by for such names as Jonathon Greening, is Leeds’ Robert Snodgrass, who features in the top 25 alongside fellow teammate Ross McCormack, who has scored 10 goals so far this season.
If your club is looking for a goalscorer this January transfer window, to ignite a low-returning front line, then a glance at the top 5 scorers in the Championship isn’t a bad bet with five of them included on the 25-man list. Rickie Lambert has fired Southampton to the top of the n-Power Championship this campaign, in a team that contains a Brazilian forward with a personal return of 7, a striker who was a Championship winner with Sunderland, scoring 13 in the process, and an attacking midfielder than has been capped by England at each level bar full international.
However, with promotion hopes in their own hands, targeting Lambert may well prove a lost cause, especially considering Nicola Cortese’s image as a stubborn dealer in the negotiations room, as Arsenal will know.
The highest scorers, after 15-goal Lambert, on thesenentytwo shortlist, are: Ross McCormack, Billy Sharp, Robert Snodgrass, Grant McCann and Peter Whittingham. The last, a former England u-21 international, had only ever scored one league goal when he came to Welsh side Cardiff in the January transfer window of 2007 from Premier League Aston Villa: since then he has scored 51 goals in the Championship, including his Golden Boot winning season of the 2009/10 campaign.
His return so far this season 0f 8, 3 off of his return last time round, has rekindled top-flight interest that ex-Bluebirds boss Dave Jones, said was burning last season, “the fans will be upset with me, but if you are a Premiership manager and you are looking for a midfielder that can not only create but can score then I’m sure they’ll be looking at him. There were one or two sniffs last year from Premiership clubs.”
With injury threatening to hamper any early, and possibly premature, hopes of European football at the Franchised Arena of the North, next season, Alan Pardew is understandably looking to add defensive reinforcements to his Newcastle team, “we are having to look at our squad because we are stretched, especially defensively.” Taye Taiwo had been exclusively linked with a move to the Toon from Serie A giants AC Milan, having made just a handful of appearances for the i Rossoneri, however Pardew has inexplicably ruled it out, “There’s no interest,” said the boss, “I don’t know anything more about that.”