Sky Bet Championship stats XI of January: Ryan Sessegnon, James Maddison and more
By Martin Laurence, Whoscored.com
Last Updated: 06/02/18 5:04pm
The New Year can represent a fresh start for players and clubs alike and the Sky Bet Championship certainly saw some improved performances from a number of individuals in January.
WhoScored.com are on hand once again to run through the team of the month, according to their unique statistical ratings...
Goalkeeper: Joe Wildsmith (Sheffield Wednesday) - 7.5
Life under new manager Jos Luhukay may not have got off to the most thrilling of starts, with three consecutive 0-0 draws in the league, but the Owls have improved dramatically at the back. Wildsmith also produced the joint-most saves in the Championship last month (17).
Right-back: Bruno Manga (Cardiff) - 7.7
Manga has been key to Cardiff's superb season so far and in steadying the ship after a worrying wobble over Christmas. Filling in at right-back when required or in a back three, the 29-year-old has been extremely consistent and produced 16 tackles and interceptions combined to help keep two clean sheets in January.
Centre-back: Curtis Davies (Derby) - 8.0
Kicking off this year where he left off last, Davies has been a rock for the Rams at the back as they sustained their bid for automatic promotion. The experienced centre-back ranked second for both clearances (36) and aerial duels won last month (35) as Derby conceded just once in four games.
Centre-back: Daniel Ayala (Middlesborough) - 7.6
Without a single goal prior to last month, all of a sudden Tony Pulis walks through the door at Boro and centre-back Ayala is a goal machine! The Spaniard scored three times in January as the Teessiders kept up their pursuit of a play-off finish.
Left-back: Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham) - 8.4
If 17-year-old Sessegnon was on the radar of a number of clubs before the turn of the year, it's fair to say that number will have multiplied following a sensational month. Adapting to play at left-back or on the left wing, the Fulham academy graduate carried on his knack of being in goalscoring positions regardless of his position, scoring at least two more goals (six) than any other Championship player last month.
Right wing: Robert Snodgrass (Aston Villa) - 8.5
Steve Bruce's utilisation of the loan market continued last month and if either Axel Tuanzebe or Lewis Grabban can make anything close to the impact of Snodgrass then their spells will be deemed a great success. The Scotsman played the starring role as Villa enjoyed a perfect league record in January, scoring three times and registering two assists and he has now had a direct hand in 14 league goals this season.
Central midfield: James Maddison (Norwich) - 8.0
Young playmaker Maddison has gained a reputation for the spectacular this season and added to his individual goal of the season showreel with another stunner at Brentford. That was one of three goals from the Norwich man in January, who the Canaries will have been delighted to keep hold of, if only until the end of the season. With an assist from 10 key passes and 12 successful dribbles, the 21-year-old will be hot property come the summer.
Central midfield: Kevin McDonald (Fulham) - 7.9
An unsung hero for free-flowing Fulham given the attacking talents around him, 29-year-old McDonald does much of the dirty work that allows Slavisa Jokanovic's side to perform. The Scot got in on the act last month with his first goal of the season and was key to the Cottagers' winning start to the year, with the side conceding just once across his three appearances.
Left wing: Adama Traore (Middlesborough) - 8.2
No matter what level he is playing at, once you let Traore turn and run at your defence there is almost no stopping him. The young winger is becoming a real fan favourite at the Riverside and while there's no question his end product is still often wide of the mark, the Spaniard registered a goal and an assist last month whilst completing more dribbles (31) than nine of the remaining 23 teams in the Championship last month. That's right. Teams!
Striker: Steve Morison (Millwall) - 8.1
One could have been forgiven for assuming that at his age the Championship was a step too far for veteran forward Morison after a long goal drought to start the campaign. The 34-year-old has found some form though, hitting a superb strike against Norwich before coming back to haunt another former club with a hat-trick of assists in one of the games of the season at Leeds.
Striker: Sam Gallagher (Birmingham) - 7.9
If Steve Cotterill's side are to survive this season then they will need Southampton loanee Gallagher to continue his impressive form of recent weeks. The Blues boss has started to get the best from the youngster since his appointment, with the 22-year-old doubling his league tally with three goals in January.