Sky Bet Championship stats XI of January: Tammy Abraham, Oli McBurnie and Said Benrahma feature
By Martin Laurence, WhoScored.com
Last Updated: 30/01/19 6:06pm
Another entertaining month of the 2018/19 Sky Bet Championship season is behind us and here is the WhoScored.com Championship Team of the Month for January…
Goalkeeper: Costel Pantilimon, Nottingham Forest - 7.19
Forest's giant goalkeeper isn't always the most orthodox or wholly convincing of shot stoppers, but his efforts ensured the team kept up their play-off hopes despite a change of manager. The 31-year-old produced 20 saves in four appearances last month, including a penalty stop to help earn a first three points under Martin O'Neill.
Right-back: Elliott Bennett, Blackburn - 7.37
After five games without a win and three defeats in a row, Rovers summed up the division with a four-game winning streak in January, with the versatile Bennett playing his part at both ends. The 30-year-old started all four games at right-back as Tony Mowbray's side conceded just once, winning 11 tackles and seven interceptions and registering a third assist of the season at Millwall.
Centre-back: Tomas Kalas, Bristol City - 7.60
As for Blackburn, the New Year has been sensational thus far for Bristol City, whose three consecutive league wins in January extended their unbeaten run to 10 matches and left the Robins just two points off the top six. They too shipped just one goal, with Kalas a commanding presence at the back, making seven interceptions, 21 clearances and winning 16 aerial duels.
Centre-back: James Collins, Ipswich - 7.70
It will be a huge ask at this point for Ipswich to avoid the drop but the addition of a player of Collins' experience certainly gives them greater hope. Reunited with former Villa boss Paul Lambert, the veteran centre-back made an instant impact in a Man-of-the-Match display as the Tractor Boys beat Rotherham 1-0, winning 26 aerial duels and making a massive 39 clearances in his first three appearances for the club.
Left-back: Rico Henry, Brentford - 7.49
Having endured a torrid time with injuries over the past two years, Henry is back fit and proved why he is so highly rated at Championship level. The 21-year-old left-back started every match for the Bees as they picked up seven points from nine to climb out of trouble, scoring his first league goal for the club in the win over Stoke before registering an assist from one of four key passes at Rotherham.
Right midfield: Jarrod Bowen, Hull - 7.88
Following a fantastic end to 2018, Bowen didn't let talk of a January transfer distract him whatsoever, scoring four goals in as many appearances last month. The youngster's tally now stands at 14 for the season, and he chips in defensively too, winning eight tackles and six interceptions to complement 10 shots and six dribbles.
Central midfield: Mario Vrancic, Norwich - 7.74
Bosnia and Herzegovina international Vrancic couldn't buy a start early on this season, but has returned to the Norwich midfield with a point to prove since the start of December. The 29-year-old registered an assist in the draw at Brentford and scored in the victory over Birmingham, but it was his defensive work rate that stood out, making a whopping 22 tackles in four appearances.
Central midfield: Kamohelo Mokotjo, Brentford - 7.87
Like Vrancic, Mokotjo has returned to the Brentford midfield of late to add some steel in the middle of the park and it's certainly benefited the Bees, who have ended a run of eight defeats in 10 with a six-match unbeaten streak in the Championship. The South African started all three league games in January, making 11 interceptions and completing seven dribbles, and proved an unlikely match winner against Rotherham, scoring twice - having done so just once in his time at the club beforehand.
Left midfield: Said Benrahma, Brentford - 8.00
Thomas Frank's recent switch to a 3-4-3 formation has certainly suited winger Benrahma, who excelled from the left flank last month. The Algerian scored twice and registered another two assists in January to take his respective tallies to three and seven, with the 23-year-old's confidence clear to see as he fired off 13 shots and completed seven dribbles in three appearances.
Striker: Oli McBurnie, Swansea - 8.36
Scotland international McBurnie endured a difficult end to 2018 but he has been a different animal altogether in the New Year, scoring five times in three league appearances and a further brace in the FA Cup. With an assist to his name against Birmingham to boot, the young striker has led the line superbly for the Swans, converting 71.4 per cent of his total attempts at goal in the league last month.
Striker: Tammy Abraham - Aston Villa - 7.73
January could have proven to be a real distraction for Tammy Abraham, who rejected the advances of Wolves to aid in Villa's faltering promotion push and added a further five goals to his league haul in the process. The Chelsea loanee is now the outright top scorer in the Championship and just one away from becoming the first Villa player to score 20 league goals in a season in almost 40 years