EFL Team of the week: Hat-tricks for Rushian and Ralls

It was another exciting weekend in the EFL, with goals galore across the divisions.

Gabriel Sutton (@_FootbalLab) shares his team of the week.

Goalkeeper: Nathan Bishop

New Southend United manager Sol Campbell made the decision to change goalkeeper at Sunderland last time out.

Mark Oxley dropped out to make way for Nathan Bishop, who produced a steady display in a narrow 1-0 defeat.

Southend’s defensive record has been a huge problem so far this season, so an improvement between the sticks would boost their survival prospects.

Right-Back: Jayden Bogle,

The academy graduate got forward well in Derby’s 2-0 win over Middlesbrough, especially in the second half, when he went on numerous marauding runs that were key to chance creation.

With Krystian Bielik often slotting between centre-backs Curtis Davies and Matt Clarke, Bogle had the freedom to make the right flank his own and he did just that.

Centre-Backs: Christopher Schindler and Leon Legge

Having been defeated so frequently before Danny and Nicky Cowley’s arrival, Huddersfield Town are now seven games unbeaten.

One of the things the duo have done to spark this turnaround is get the best out of Christopher Schindler, who put in a savvy display to help the Terriers to a 1-0 win at Brentford.

Another centre-back to inspire a one-goal away win was Leon Legge who, along with partner Nathan Smith, helped negate one of League Two’s best attacking teams in Crewe to lend Port Vale A500 Derby honours at Gresty Road.

Left-back: Jordan Obita

Obita had been part of the 2016-17 Reading side that reached the Play-Off Final under Jaap Stam.

After that day at Wembley, though, the attacking left-back made no starts in two full seasons in an injury plagued period.

It was therefore great, from a human perspective, to see Obita celebrate his first goal since May 2017 in the Royals’ 2-1 win over Millwall; all the emotion came out and it looked like a special moment.

Central Midfielders: Joe Ralls and Brandon Comley

Cardiff City were very poor in the first half of Saturday’s 4-2 victory over Birmingham, but Joe Ralls inspired them to victory with a hat-trick.

Ralls’ energy and dynamism had been a key part of the Bluebirds’ promotion from this level two seasons ago, so getting him at his best will increase their chances of achieving a top six finish.

Another side with Play-Off aspirations are League Two Colchester United who, with a 3-2 win over Mansfield, capped a perfect week; back-to-back wins sandwiched a 3-1 EFL Cup victory at Crawley, which game the club their first Quarter-Final berth in that competition for 45 years.

Comley, having struggled with injuries last season, scored a belter in Nottinghamshire and has added power and dynamism to the U’s midfield.

Right-Winger: Josh Bowler

Jarrod Bowen has been an undisputed jewel in Hull City’s crown over the last two seasons, so it says everything about Josh Bowler that Grant McCann has found a new position for his star man.

Bowen is now starting up top with Bowler on the right of the attacking trio, from which position he turned home the opener in a 3-0 victory at Fulham, where the Tigers executed a fine, counter- attacking performance.

Attacking Midfielder: Matt Crooks

Crooks is nothing if not versatile.

While at Accrington Stanley, he played as a centre-back, up top and in central midfield, from which position he earnt a big money move to Rangers before moving on to Northampton then Rotherham.

This season, manager Paul Warne has moved Crooks into a more advanced role, ahead of Jamie Lindsay and Ben Wiles; from the number 10 position, the 25-year-old was a threat in transition at Gillingham, scoring a brace in a 3-0 win.

Left-Winger: Jack Aitchison

The Rangers loanee has made an immediate impression with Forest Green Rovers.

He made his name in September, when he came off the bench to score the winner in the 1-0 victory at Cambridge and his subsequent work more than merited a start in Saturday’s derby at Cheltenham.

Aitchison bagged the opener in the 2-1 “El-Glosico” victory, which will boost his Nailsworth popularity to cult hero status.

Striker: Rushian Hepburn-Murphy

In keeping with recent themes, there were signs of Rushian influence in Tranmere Rovers’ 3-1 victory at MK Dons.

Hepburn-Murphy bagged a hat-trick for Micky Mellon’s side and, all afternoon, his pace was a real weapon.

Rovers had only scored three away goals before Saturday’s road trip, but Mellon may have spied a solution.

Management Team: Kevin Ellison and Barry Roche

On Saturday, Morecambe played their first match without Jim Bentley’s involvement for 17 years.

The Shrimps deservedly beat Leyton Orient 1-0, thanks to a second half winner from AJ Leitch-Smith.

With Ken McKenna joining Bentley at AFC Fylde, Kevin Ellison and Barry Roche stepped up from being players to become caretaker managers and the duo deserve huge credit for doing so well at an uncertain time.


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