The 8 most surprising hits of the Championship season so far
Teemu Pukki (Norwich City)
Nobody has scored more goals in the Championship this season than Pukki, who currently has 24. The Finnish striker’s arrival last summer wasn’t greeted with much fanfare at Carrow Road, let alone anywhere else, but he’s proved a resounding success.
Pukki has been a major factor in Norwich’s surprise title challenge, plundering goals of all kinds during the best run of his career. Late winners have been a particular speciality for the former Celtic player, who struggled during his time in Scottish football.
Daniel James (Swansea City)
Graham Potter has one of the division’s toughest jobs, re-energising a club that had lost its sense of direction over recent years while shedding high earners. Several academy graduates have been forced to step up as a result, with Daniel James having a notable impact.
The lightning-quick winger failed to make an impression on loan at Shrewsbury Town last season but he’s been a revelation under Potter, who gave him his first professional start against Millwall in September. James was even on the brink of a £10 million move to Leeds in the January transfer window before the deal collapsed late on.
Lewis Wing (Middlesbrough)
Scouting is a more intensive process than ever before, but there are still players who manage to slip through the net. Wing was one of them, belatedly joining Middlesbrough in the summer of 2017 on the back of an outstanding season where he scored 37 goals for non-league Shildon.
Nobody knew how the versatile midfielder would cope with the higher standard of football, but after spending some time on loan at Yeovil Town, he’s gradually earned the trust of Tony Pulis. Along with Marcus Tavernier and Dael Fry, Wing has brought some much-needed youthful energy to an ageing team.
Jayden Bogle (Derby County)
The more things change at Pride Park, the more they stay the same. Much like his predecessors, Frank Lampard has delivered another play-off push that looks to be faltering when it can least afford to. Promotion may once more prove elusive.
Still, the emergence of Jayden Bogle has been a positive development for Derby County. The 18-year-old right-back made his debut in the League Cup first round and has been one of the first names on the teamsheet ever since, racking up 38 appearances in all competitions. Commanding and comfortable on the ball, he’s destined for the top.
NEXT: The centre-back shoring up the defence in Sheffield United’s title push