There has been no better time to be a Football League player given the number of Championship clubs through to the FA Cup semi-finals. Here is Pies run down on XI of the best players outside the Premier League.
1 Wayne Hennessey
The young Wolves keeper has one of the Championship’s other top keepers as competition in the form of Matt Murray, but he has cemented a place in the team while Murray has been injured. The Welshman is still only 20 and will only get better.
2 Carl Hoefkens
Belgian football’s answer to David Beckham is arguably currently playing at a better level of football than the former England skipper. Although equally comfortable at centre-back, the 29-year-old has mainly been deployed at right-back this season and has impressed.
3 Paul Robinson
West Brom’s no-frills left-back is not always pretty to watch but he is effective. A tough-tackler who is capable of going forwards and has Premier League experience secures Robbo his place in the team.
4 Danny Shittu
Built like a brick Shittu-house, Watford’s Danny is a strong defender who is now making his mark at international level with Nigeria. The 27-year-old has also chipped in with some valuable goals this season.
5 Mark Hudson
The Crystal Palace skipper has been in excellent form this season, and has helped the Eagles’ defence become one of the meanest in the league. He knows it too, and is currently making Palace sweat over their offer of a new contract.
6 Liam Lawrence
Leaving Premier League-bound Sunderland for Stoke City might not have seemed a wise career move, but it might pay off in the long-term for Lawrence. He has bagged 13 league goals this season, and set 14 up. Pretty impressive stuff.
7 Michael Kightly
Living proof that it is still possible to unearth decent players in the non-league. Comparisons to Ryan Giggs were inevitable given his pace and jinking runs. Has made his breakthrough into the England Under 21 set-up and seems destined to play at the highest level.
8 Zoltan Gera
Was one of the few places to genuinely impress during West Brom’s Premier League days. He looked comfortable at the top level and will probably be there again next season, with or without the Baggies.
9 Jermaine Beckford
There was big competition for the striker slots but we have picked Beckford. Firstly, he has outscored all his competitors with 17 goals for Leeds this season. Secondly, the stir he has caused among bigger clubs suggests he is more than capable of moving up the ladder.
10 Kevin Phillips
He may be an old-timer, but Phillips has been teaching the Championship whipper-snappers a thing or two this season. He tops the goalscoring charts with 17 strikes and has made no secret of the fact that he believes can still cut it at Premier League level.
11 Peter Halmosi
The second Hungarian to make our team. A truly gifted player who regularly gets Plymouth Argyle fans out of their seats with his attacking play. Pilgrims supporters love him so much that he is the subject of the chant: “Peter Halmosi, you’re the love of my life, Peter Halmosi, you can shag my wife.”
What do you think of our team? Who would be in your Football League XI?