I FELT sorry for Doncaster Rovers goalkeeper Carl Ikeme on Saturday night.
The 25-year-old, on loan from Wolves, had a faultless debut in the South Yorkshire derby showdown with Barnsley, making a couple of fine stops to deny the hosts.
But ultimately, Ikeme was given little protection by his back four for either goal and it would have been a heavier defeat for Rovers had it not been for his heroics.
In my back three, I have selected Jim McNulty. He delivered an assured performance at the heart of defence as the Reds kept a well-earned clean sheet. Both McNulty and Steve Foster never gave Billy Sharp or El-Hadji Diouf a sniff. Johnny Mullins and Rob Jones complete my back three.
Jacob Butterfield is a must. The midfielder, who was recently called up to the England under-21 squad, is in a rich vein of form and orchestrated Barnsley’s midfield operation.
Skilful midfield playmaker Danny Schofield caught the eye at Bradford while Sheffield Wednesday fans favourite Jose Semedo also gets in after another uncompromising performance.
It is not hard to see why the Owls want to keep Ben Marshall beyond January. His dribbling, crossing, and long throws have been a major asset to their promotion tilt. He again showcased his class at Tranmere and could hold the key to Wednesday finishing in the top two or the play-offs.
On the left flank is Matty Done, who turned in arguably his most accomplished display since arriving from Rochdale in the summer. He created Craig Davies’ second goal and Rovers’ defence never got to grips with his movement off the ball.
Davies grew in stature the longer the match went on and took his goals well so he gets in alongside Ched Evans.
Carl Ikeme (Rovers)
Jim McNulty (Reds)
Johnny Mullins (Millers)
Rob Jones (Owls)
Ben Marshall (Owls)
Jacob Butterfield (Reds)
Danny Schofield (Millers)
Jose Semedo (Owls)
Matty Done (Reds)
Craig Davies (Reds)
Ched Evans (Blades)