Here at HITC Sport we have been conducting a poll to find out who has been the best player in the Championship in 2016. Probably the world's most competitive second tier league, the Championship has an abundance of players that are lighting up the division with their range of abilities. It hasn't been easy cutting the huge list down, however, below are the five candidates we have chosen:
Aston Villa's Libor Kozak in action with Derby's Will Hughes
Hughes has starred for Derby this season as they have slowly begun to turn their form around after a difficult start. Hughes' side have risen to fifth in the league with 35 points and the midfielder has played a starring role. While he has not been able to score and assist that often since returning from serious injury in April, with just one goal and three assists this year, this does show that he has been particularly intelligent with his contribution to the team, while his passing range and ability on the ball make him a very strong choice for this award.
Newcastle United's Jonjo Shelvey celebrates
Shelvey is a player that was really disappointing last year as he failed to ever really get going in the Premier League for the Magpies. This season in particular though, the midfielder has been a driving force in Newcastle's push for promotion back to the league. His passing range and intelligent movement make him Newcastle's heartbeat, while he has found the net three times in the Championship and picked up seven assists as he continues to show how big a talent he is.
Newcastle United's Dwight Gayle celebrates scoring
Dwight Gayle has been another Newcastle player that has lit up the Championship this term. His pace, power and clinical finishing means he is a force to be reckoned with, while he seems to be benefiting hugely from having someone with the ability of Shelvey behind him to put in the right pass. The stats speak volumes about Gayle: 16 goals, one assist and he is the Championship's top scorer.
Aston Villa's Jonathan Kodjia celebrates scoring
Aston Villa's star forward has allowed Steve Bruce to hit the ground running this term as the forward has been in fantastic scoring form recently. He has hit seven goals and picked up one assist as he looks to fire Aston Villa back to the Premier League in style. His powerful running and accurate finishing make him a difficult prospect to deal with on his day and, with Villa moving up to mid table, it is clear that the forward has been a huge part of the rejuvenation at Villa.
Brighton's Anthony Knockaert in action with Sheffield Wednesday's Ross Wallace
Knockaert has been another player in incredible form this season as he has fired Brighton to second in the Championship. His side have scored 33 times in 21 games in this new campaign, of which he has scored six goals. It has been a much improved term for the forward after he spent time with Standard Liege last campaign. Perhaps the goals of the winger will fire his side to glory in the league this season and, if he can carry on his good form, he could put his name up for the player of the season, as well as HITC's potential player of the year.
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