League One's players of the season (so far)

Robins fan Nick Judd on the finest footballers he's seen in the division this term...

Given that Hartlepool are the best team I’ve seen at the County Ground this season and Southampton the worst, there are sure to be a few bones of contention in my League One team of the season so far.

Gillingham looked world-beaters on day one but have since looked more Bromley than Brazil.

But football is all about opinions and my selection is based purely on sides I’ve seen in action against Swindon, or who have played on Sky Sports. That’ll be Leeds, then…

GOALKEEPERKelvin Davis (Southampton)Had it not been for Davis, Swindon would have beaten Southampton 64-0 earlier in the season. Slight exaggeration, perhaps, but Davis’ performances for Saints – not helped by a dodgy back line – have seen him a Premier League target. He must be good, even Talentspotter says so...

DEFENCESam Collins (Hartlepool United)At 32, Collins is no spring chicken. He is, however, a man mountain. His team-mates probably call him Sam Everest. Or not. I’ve not seen a defender win more headers than him this season. No doubt quicker strikers will get the better of him on the floor, but he boasts exceptional strength, presence and aerial prowess.

Paddy Kisnorbo (Leeds United)Kisnorbo has proved a hit with Leeds fans since joining from Leicester City. No wonder, he has the greatest name in League One. That, and he is willing to stick his head where it hurts. It’s no coincidence that Leeds have kept seven clean sheets since his arrival in July.

Scott Cuthbert (Swindon Town)Gordon Greer continues to impress at the heart of Swindon’s defence, but Cuthbert could prove to be one of the buys of the season. Getting better with every game, the former Celtic defender has proved a consistent performer. Quick, strong and with thighs like tree trunks, it’s a brave man that takes on our Scott. Has also proved effective at the other end.

MIDFIELDAndy Monkhouse (Hartlepool United)My hatred of the former Swindon winger intensified when he scored against us again last weekend. His celebration in front of the Don Rogers Stand wasn’t quite as inciting as Emmnauel Adebayor’s against Arsenal, but it caused a volley of vitriol to tumble from the stands. It was the second goal he’d scored against us since leaving the County Ground in 2007, but there’s no questioning his ability. An excellent crosser of the ball, Monkhouse continues to contribute his fair share of goals. He has three this season.

Anthony Pilkington (Huddersfield Town)No player has dominated a game like he did for Stockport against us last season. Now that he’s signed for big-spenders Huddersfield, his talents are flourishing at the right end of the table. Able to cut in from wide psoitions or play in the middle, Pilkington stands out among the Terriers’ galacticos. A class act.

Jonathan Douglas (Swindon Town)Quite simply the best midfielder Swindon have had since we were last any good. Which is a long time. That we looked so toothless without him against Hartlepool – he’s serving a four-game suspension after being harshly red carded against Millwall – proves how pivotal he is. Strong in the challenge, excellent at keeping possession and a superb talker, he’s STFC’s Player of the Year elect. A close second will be Jon-Paul McGovern. Close to being shown the exit door in the summer, he’s now one of the first names on the team sheet. Busy, works hard and has goals up his sleeve, too.

Wes Hoolahan (Norwich City)Dropped for so long for being ineffectual, Hoolahan has returned to Norwich’s starting line-up with devastating effect under Paul Lambert. Hoolahan is a luxury player, but when he’s on form there are few better in the division. Carlisle had three men marking him last week, and he still scored.

Robert Snodgrass (Leeds United)Few players get to experience international football in League One, but Snodgrass has been so consistent for so long that Scotland simply couldn’t ignore him any longer. Skilful, precocious and the provider of many assists for the prolific Jermaine Beckford, it’s no surprise to hear Premier League clubs beginning to take note. The PFA Player of the Month for August and September.

ATTACKSimeon Jackson (Gillingham)Even I would have scored against Swindon had I played for Gillingham on the opening day of the season, but Simeon Jackson looked positively frightening. Strong, quick, able to find space and boasting a low centre of gravity, Jackson has caused opposing defenders problems all year. He has seven goals in 12 games in a side currently in the bottom half of the table. How Swindon could do with a player who can play on the shoulder of the last defender and create goals out of nothing with his trickery and pace.

Grant Holt (Norwich City)Among the goals even when his team were struggling at the beginning of the season, Holt has proven to be a real handful. As good with his feet as he is with his head, he boasts a huge presence in attack.

ON THE BENCHKevin Lisbie (Colchester United)When Swindon drew with Colchester earlier in the season, the pace of the U's forward line, with Lisbie alongside Clive Platt, was electrifying... no wonder they put seven past Norwich on the opening day of the season. Tall, strong and with pace to burn, Lisbie is a real handful.Jordan Rhodes (Huddersfield Town)Has eight goals in the league and electric pace. We’re yet to face him and his sidekick Theo Robinson, who turned us down in the summer.

Ritchie Jones (Hartlepool United)The Hartlepool midfielder was instrumental in the Monkey Hangers' 2-0 win at the County Ground. Has a huge pedigree having learned his trade at Carrington.

Rickie Lambert (Southampton)Last season’s top goalscorer is among the goals and against Swindon earlier in the season he was the only shining light in a woeful team performance.

MANAGERSteve Tilson (Southend United)With just 16 players in his squad (not including loans), Tilson continues to work wonders at Roots Hall. Despite having the smallest squad in the division, Southend are tenth, two points off the play-offs. Lee Barnard, at £0, looks a shrewd signing. The Shrimpers have only ever lost once when he’s scored. Hats off to Paul Lambert, too. It was his Colchester side that put seven past the Canaries on the opening day, but he’s got players such as Hoolahan and Chris Martin playing to their potential, and Norwich have risen to sixth in the table.


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