Peach’s Picks: Championship Team of the Month – September

Justin Peach of the Second Tier Podcast picks his Championship Team of the Month for September and explains why his XI have caught the eye over the past month...

Justin Peach

We’ve had an interesting September of Championship action which has given us plenty of action to discuss and plenty to mull over when picking my Team of the Month. 

Reading have entered the promotion conversation while Sheffield United and Norwich do exactly what is expected of them.

Then there’s managerial movements. *Takes deep breathe*

There was the surprise sacking of Steve Morison at Cardiff and the not-so surprise sacking of Danny Schofield at Huddersfield.

We’ve also had Paul Warne leaving Rotherham for Derby and Rob Edwards becoming the 12th manager to be sacked by Watford since 2015.

And as we’re writing this, Shota Arveladze has been relieved of his duties at Hull City on the same day as their meeting with Luton Town!

But that’s just the Championship, always keeping you on your toes. Enough about managers though, let’s talk about the players.

Here’s a run through an XI of the best performers this month and why they’ve been standout players for their teams throughout September…

Steven Benda (Swansea City)

The 24-year-old endured a shaky start to his life as a first choice goalkeeper with Swansea last season before being shipped off to Peterborough on loan where he looked much more comfortable.

After starting the season as number two being Andrew Fisher, Benda has taken his chance in recent weeks brilliantly.

Comfortable in possession, Benda has given Swansea more reassurance at the back and with his 85% save percentage so far, he’s proving hard to beat.

Benda has been one of the key reasons behind the Swans’ upturn in form and he and Swansea will hope his form can continue.

Sam Byram (Norwich City)

Perhaps a forgotten man after once being one of the most sought after prospects in the football league while at Leeds.

A few bit-part seasons later and Byram has found himself as a versatile squad option rather than first-choice full back.

However, in September, he grabbed his opportunity by the scruff of the neck and ran with it.

Deputising at left-back in the absence of Dimitris Giannoulis, Byram has been solid throughout the month, winning 21 out of the 33 ground duels he’s faced.

He’s given Norwich a sound defensive balance that allows Max Aarons to create the width on the right hand side ensuring Dean Smith’s side have several avenues of attack.

Anel Ahmedhodzic (Sheffield United)

Disclaimer: Anel Ahmedhodzic will feature a lot in the team of the month.

He’s a machine. There’s always a bedding in period when signings arrive from overseas, but it’s frightening how comfortable and at home he looks in the Blades side.

Sheffield United didn’t concede a goal in September whilst playing all three of their games away from home. Just let that sink in for a second.

Part of that reason is down to a solid defence and the Preston game was a particular highlight for Ahmedhodzic, making seven interceptions and five tackles.

Richard Wood (Rotherham United)

While it would be great to include Richard Wood in here just for his Griddy celebration, it’s actually his performances that have caught the eye.

He’s scored and created a goal in September but defensively he’s been solid playing a key part in Rotherham’s solid start to the season.

With Rotherham conceding just once against Watford, you can only argue the case for him to get a mention.

His experience and leadership will now be vital though as he takes interim charge of the Millers alongside Lee Peltier.

Experienced defender, golden boot contender and now manager in the space of four weeks is quite the transition.

Ryan Manning (Swansea City)

Another Swans defender who has caught the eye is Ryan Manning.

The Republic of Ireland international has been in excellent form and like Benda, vital in helping turn their poor form around.

Manning has arguably been Swansea’s most consistent performer this season and that didn’t change throughout September.

He played a starring role in the wins over QPR and Hull, even grabbing a goal against the Tigers in the process.

It would have been three clean sheets in three had it not been for some dodgy defending from Kyle Naughton against Sheffield United.

Josh Cullen (Burnley)

If we’re talking about steady 7/10 players on a weekly basis, Cullen fitted that mould perfectly in September.

Without doing anything spectacular, Cullen has been a key cog for Burnley’s unbeaten form last month and continues to be a key member of Kompany’s side.

His performance against West Brom in particular was a highlight, as he dominated the central areas alongside Jack Cork, forcing West Brom into wide areas continuously.

Doing that against a side who should be in contention for promotion this season has to be lauded along with dominating performances against Preston and Bristol City.

Oli Norwood (Sheffield United)

Norwood has easily been the best central midfielder in the Championship this season.

The 31-year-old will do a lot of work that doesn’t get the plaudits because he won’t post goals and assists on the regular.

But his ability to dictate tempo in games is a key reason why the Blades were so good away from home last month.

He wins the ball back so often, the game is usually at his beck and call and that was absolutely the case in the wins of Hull, Swansea and Preston.

Tom Ince (Reading)

Ince has given Reading a beacon of hope this season and so has Thomas.

Ince Jr is slowly rekindling the type of form that everyone loved to watch at Derby and Blackpool.

The type of player who loves picking up the ball in tight spots, he’s now matured into a more rounded player that works just as hard out of possession.

Whilst goals haven’t been flowing, his performances have been vital for the Royals. His performance against Stoke highlighted the more mature aspect of his game.

He worked harder than any other player on the pitch and allowed Reading to see the game out.

Against Wigan, it was more of the same but with the added quality of his freekick which turned out to be the match winner.

Ince is averaging more tackles per game than he is dribbles which should be lauded and as mentioned, is a key reason behind his inclusion for September.

Carlton Morris (Luton Town)

Morris is easily a favourite of mine in the Championship because he has absolutely everything in his locker as a number nine.

Four goals in September make him an easy pick this month but let’s talk about those finishes.

Snappy half volley and tidy left foot finishes against Coventry, towering header against Wigan, getting on the end of a cross against Blackburn. That’s not even mentioning August.

Nahki Wells (Bristol City)

Four goal contributions in four games, including three goals, has seen Wells’ career bounce back at Ashton Gate.

You’d have been forgiven for thinking his career at Ashton Gate was overcome the summer but he stuck around and is now thoroughly enjoying himself alongside Tommy Conway.

We’re seeing the Wells of old where his movement is crisp and is finishing even better.

His second against Blackburn was a key example where he peels off between defenders and is found brilliantly by Weimann and he does the rest.

At 32, you could argue Wells is still in his peak years but whatever the case, Bristol City have goals in their team making them an exciting watch.

Tommy Conway (Bristol City)

Speaking of goals, Tommy Conway. He was born to do it wasn’t he?

The purpose of these articles is to shine a light on players who deserve and it won’t always be the obvious ones. Conway falls into that category as Championship fans need to get to know him.

The 20-year-old has taken his first crack at senior football with two hands and has seven goals in 12 games this season. That includes two goals in September and there’s no sign of stopping.

He sniffs out goals better than a Springer Spaniel finding a lost toy in the garden which is remarkable for his young age.

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