Dwight Gayle, Glenn Murray or Tammy Abraham? We assess the Sky Bet Championship top scorer contenders

Ian Holloway picks his Championship team of the season so far

As the Sky Bet Championship returns following the international break, we look at the current leading candidates to top the goalscorer charts.

Just over a third of the season has now been completed, with pre-season favourite Dwight Gayle currently leading the way and the Newcastle striker is now odds-on to remain at the top of the charts.

However, plenty of other contenders have emerged as competition, including two young stars.

Here's a look at the top six scorers so far and Sky Bet's view on their chances of topping the list...

Dwight Gayle - 11 goals - 4/5 with Sky Bet

Newcastle United's Dwight Gayle celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal of the game during the Sky Bet Championship match at St James' Park, Newcastle.

Starting the season as the first-choice frontman for the favourites to win the Sky Bet Championship was always going to help Gayle's chances of scoring prolifically. Eleven goals in just over 1,000 minutes leaves him with an impressive scoring rate of a goal every 94 minutes for Newcastle, comfortably the best of the contenders. It is, however, a stark contrast to his form at Crystal Palace, having netted just 15 times from 62 appearances in three seasons at Selhurst Park. Competition has also stepped up, with Aleksandar Mitrovic scoring seven in six for club and country, so his position at the top of the charts might not be as certain as the odds suggest.

Glenn Murray - nine goals - 8/1 with Sky Bet

Brighton and Hove Albion's Glenn Murray celebrates scoring his side's third goal

Much like Brighton's position behind Newcastle, poised to take advantage of any drop in form, Murray is tucked in nicely behind Gayle. Crystal Palace fans would certainly attest to that, with Murray firing the Eagles to promotion with a 30-goal campaign in 2012/13 before a serious injury ruled him out of the majority of the following campaign. At 33, he may no longer be in his prime, but a hat-trick against Norwich reminded us that Murray is as potent as ever.

Tammy Abraham - nine goals - 8/1 with Sky Bet

HIGH WYCOMBE, ENGLAND - AUGUST 08: Tammy Abraham of Bristol City celebrates after scoring to make it 0-1 during the EFL Cup match between Wycombe Wanderers

Abraham might boast the same tally and carry the same odds as Murray but that is very much where the similarities stop. The 19-year-old Chelsea loanee has blossomed at Bristol City, netting 11 goals in his first 14 appearances in all competitions. That strike rate has dropped off somewhat, with just one in six, coinciding with the Robins winning just once in that run. Abraham's inexperience and the fact that he is not playing for one of the league's title favourites might count against him, but his exceptional potential is already undoubted.

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Chris Wood - eight goals - 16/1 with Sky Bet

Chris Wood goal celeb, Leeds United v Blackburn, EFL Cup

Having arrived at West Brom from New Zealand at just 17 years of age, Wood knows all about handling big expectations. That has perhaps made him the perfect fit for life at Leeds, where demands have rarely been met in recent years. However, their prospects are looking bright with Wood, now 24, leading the line. With loan signings Pontus Jansson and Kyle Bartley forming a solid basis at the back, Garry Monk has created the platform for Wood to deliver, with an additional three goals in the EFL Cup taking his tally to 11 in 19 appearances his season.

Danny Ward - eight goals - 33/1 with Sky Bet

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 15:  Danny Ward of Rotherham United jumps a tackle from Danny Guthrie of Fulham during the Sky Bet Championship match between Fulha

While the players previously mentioned have obviously been key to their side's aspirations, Ward is perhaps the most important asset to any team in the division. Indeed, when you consider one of Rotherham's 17 strikes was an own goal, the 24-year-old has scored exactly half of their goals this season, the highest contribution rate in the league. That has not been enough to lift the Yorkshire club off the bottom of the table yet, but if the Millers are to have any chance of avoiding the drop then Ward is going to have to maintain his form.

Scott Hogan - eight goals - 9/1 with Sky Bet

Scott Hogan of Brentford receives The Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for September - Mandatory by-line: Robbie Stephenson/JMP -

After two cruciate ligament injuries in as many years, Hogan is finally relishing the opportunity to prove his quality at this level with Brentford. Indeed, with parallels to Jamie Vardy's career, plenty have suggested he is destined for greater things. He finished last season with seven goals in his final four games and, while his scoring rate has not been quite a prolific this term, eight goals still represents a decent return. Sky Bet certainly rate his quality, holding him at only marginally longer odds than Abraham and Murray and significantly shorter than Wood and Ward.

Outsiders

Sam Gallagher produced a sublime goal in Blackburn's 1-1 draw with Wolves

Blackburn's Sam Gallagher follows in the charts with seven goals since arriving on loan from Southampton. Owen Coyle has admitted he "would love to" buy the 21-year-old, also indicating the striker is ready for the Premier League. However, he's all but written off topping the second-tier scoring charts at 66/1. Despite scoring a goal less, Norwich targetman Cameron Jerome and Aston Villa's Jonathan Kodjia are both considerably shorter in the betting at 25/1 apiece. 

Watch our pick of the best goals from the Football League so far this season

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