Sky Bet Championship stats XI of April: Aleksandar Mitrovic, Adama Traore and Ruben Neves feature
By Martin Laurence, WhoScored.com
Last Updated: 04/05/18 11:00am
April was a month that left so much unanswered in the Sky Bet Championship ahead of what promises to be one of the most intense last round of fixtures in memory.
While Wolves wrapped up the title and Sunderland suffered back-to-back relegations, as many as five teams will be fighting the drop this Sunday, while there's still both an automatic promotion and play-off place up for grabs.
As ever, WhoScored.com round up the star performers from a remarkable month in the second tier, according to their unique statistical ratings...
Goalkeeper: John Ruddy (Wolves) - 7.03
Wolves have been linked with a move to several goalkeepers already ahead of this summer, but it's fair to say that Ruddy would feel hard done by if he was not given the chance to prove his Premier League pedigree once more. The 31-year-old understandably is not the busiest of keepers in the Championship but kept five consecutive clean sheets in April as Wolves secured the title.
Right-back: Henrik Dalsgaard (Brentford) - 7.39
It looked like being a superb month for Brentford that would leave them in with a fighting chance of a play-off place but April ended on a sour note with a surprise defeat to Barnsley. There were still some strong performances for the Bees, however, not least from right-back Dalsgaard, who opened his account for the club with the winner at Forest and helped Dean Smith's side to three clean sheets.
Centre-back: Sean Morrison (Cardiff) - 7.83
Solid as a rock all season, Morrison has epitomised Cardiff's defensive resolve whilst also proving to be a valuable source of goals in the Bluebirds' bid for automatic promotion. The centre-back took his tally for the season to seven with three goals last month, including a match-winning double at Hull to leave Neil Warnock's side in the driving seat for second spot ahead of the final day of the season.
Centre-back: Curtis Davies (Derby) - 7.68
It's been a difficult few months for Derby, but Gary Rowett's side remain in pole position to claim that crucial final play-off place, owing a great deal to Davies' displays at the back. The experienced defender made the most interceptions in the Championship last month (23), and his reading of the game, in general, allows the 33-year-old to be in the right place at the right time more often than not.
Left-back: George Friend (Middlesbrough) - 7.51
It was mission accomplished for Boro in April, who knew that a play-off finish was the best they could hope for and secured it with four wins in six games. Left-back Friend was one of a number of players in strong form for the Teessiders, scoring a decisive goal against Bristol City and impressing in a crucial win over Millwall, winning 12 aerial duels in that game.
Right wing: Adama Traore (Middlesbrough) 8.1
Perhaps the in-form Championship player heading into the play-offs, Traore is an unstoppable force for Boro at present. Few would have predicted that Tony Pulis would be the first manager to really put his full faith in the Spaniard but the winger has repaid him in spades, and criticisms of his lack of end product are now being silenced. The 22-year-old registered the most assists in the league last month (four) to take his tally into double figures for the season, while still completing a typically ludicrous number of dribbles - 46 in April alone.
Central midfield: Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) - 8.09
Set to come face to face with former team-mate Traore in the play-offs later this month, it may well come down to which of the two talismanic youngsters can carry their form forward when it matters most. Grealish has certainly been at his best for some time now, and with two goals and an assist in April, his importance to Villa is growing with every game. Deployed in a more involved, central position, the 22-year-old playmaker created the second most chances (19) and completed the second most dribbles (27) in the league last month.
Central midfield: Ruben Neves (Wolves) - 7.96
With crucial, stunning strikes against both Cardiff and Derby to effectively assure top spot and promotion for Wolves, the priority for the club this summer will surely be to hold onto Neves. The Portugal international arrived with some fanfare but has arguably exceeded expectations, dictating play for Nuno Espirito Santo's side, with his composure and range of passing attracting the interest of some top Premier League clubs.
Left wing: Harry Wilson (Hull) - 7.71
One of a number of loanees to make a real impact since arriving in January, Liverpool will be just as thrilled as Hull with the way that the 21-year-old Wales winger's stint at the KCOM Stadium has panned out. He has steered the Tigers clear of a hellish relegation dogfight on the final day with four of seven goals since signing for the club coming in April, along with a further assist. A direct hand in 10 goals in just 12 Championship appearances suggests that next season could be a big one for Wilson.
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Striker: Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham) - 8.0
While defeat to QPR last time out has left a nail-biting final game for Birmingham, if it were not for Jutkiewicz's dramatic upturn in form things could have been a whole lot worse. In 12 Championship starts before April the striker had failed to score or assist a single goal but he had a direct hand in four of the Blues' five strikes last month (three goals, one assist) to ensure that the fate of Garry Monk's side is still in their own hands.
Striker: Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham) - 8.02
While there have been a number of star performers in Fulham's remarkable 23-game unbeaten run - the equivalent of half a season in the Championship - simply put, were it not for the arrival of Mitrovic the Cottagers would not have a prayer of automatic promotion. The Serb has been an inspired signing with five goals in April taking his league tally to 12 in 16 appearances, if the Londoners do manage to leapfrog Cardiff on the final day the 23-year-old must go down as one of the best January window signings in history.
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