With 8 games to go, the 2018-19 EFL Championship table looks as exciting and finely-poised as ever. There’s a 3-horse race for the 2 automatic promotion spots and below that, there are at least 11 teams that could still finish in the play-off places. Here’s a look at some more of the division’s top performers.
Teemu Pukki, Norwich City (24 goals, 9 assists)
Pukki (pictured) hasn’t always been the most prolific of strikers (just ask Sevilla, Schalke and Celtic fans), but things have really clicked for him under Norwich boss Daniel Farke. Ably assisted by wingers Onel Hernández and Emiliano Buendía, the Finn has been banging in the goals this season, and setting up plenty too. Pukki arrived from Brøndby on a free transfer last summer. With Norwich top of the EFL Championship table, that now looks like an absolute steal.
Billy Sharp, Sheffield United (22 goals, 3 assists)
Sheffield United are the surprise package in second place. Chris Wilder is doing an unbelievable job at Bramall Lane, inspiring EFL Championship stalwarts to record highs. Take Sharp, for example, formerly of Scunthorpe United, Doncaster Rovers, Southampton and Nottingham Forest. At 33, many thought his best days were behind him, but they thought wrong. With strong support from David McGoldrick and the excellent Oliver Norwood, Sharp looks sharper than ever.
Jarrod Bowen, Hull City (20 goals, 3 assists)
By the end of November, Bowen had only scored 4 goals and his club, Hull City, were in the EFL Championship relegation zone. Fast forward 3-and-a-half months, and The Tigers are now up to 12th place, and their talented young winger is a target for several Premier League teams.
Other shout-outs: Che Adams (Birmingham City), Said Benrahma (Brentford), Tammy Abraham (Aston Villa), Joe Lolley (Nottingham Forest)
Liam Cooper, Leeds United
For all the attacking flair of Pablo Hernández and Mateusz Klich, where would Leeds be without their captain and rock at the back? At the age of 27, Cooper is playing the best football of his career. With Pontus Jansson at his side, and Marcelo Bielsa in his ear, he’s improving all the time. Cooper has always been tough in the tackle, and now he’s developing the calm distribution to go with it.
Adam Webster, Bristol City
Bristol City’s form has slipped in recent weeks, but for the first 2 months of 2019, they were absolutely flying. In their run of 9 consecutive wins, they conceded just 3 goals and kept 6 cleansheets. Key to that success was the centre-back pairing of Chelsea loanee Tomas Kallas and Adam Webster. City signed Webster from Ipswich Town last summer, and he’s been brilliant all season. At 6ft 3in, he wins a lot of headers, and he’s also got a decent left foot.
Other shout-outs: Ahmed Hegazi (West Brom), Max Aarons (Norwich City), Andrew Hughes (Preston North End), Mark Beevers (Bolton Wanderers)