Yorkshire’s team of the week - Christmas special

Fernando Forestieri scores against Birmingham (Picture: Steve Ellis)
Fernando Forestieri scores against Birmingham (Picture: Steve Ellis)
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THE strains of Auld Lang Syne are now not far away, as thoughts turn to the new year - and out with the old.

But with the Christmas left-overs now freshly finished and the New Year’s Eve parties - and more imbibing - in full view, now is as good a time as any to fully digest the festive football season that has just passed us and raise another glass. Or not..

United celebrate Sam Byram's (left) equaliser. (Picture: Tony Johnson)

United celebrate Sam Byram's (left) equaliser. (Picture: Tony Johnson)

It yielded some good, some not so good results - and performances - from Yorkshire’s contingent.

Here is our Christmas team of the week.

1: Joe Wildsmith (Sheffield Wednesday). Thrown into the festive fray with Keiren Westwood out and it is a surprise to no-one at Hillsborough that the he took things firmly in his stride and produced two sound performances. You would have hardly noticed that Westwood was away.Turned 20 this week and becoming a man in a footballing sense.

2: John Brayford (Sheffield United). Perhaps it is no coincidence that the Blades’ fortunes are picking up thanks to the return of the bearded warrior. Strong and unyielding and sets the example for others to follow.

Nigel Adkins is in the running for the manager of the month award

Nigel Adkins is in the running for the manager of the month award

READ MORE - Richard Sutcliffe’s report from Sheffield United v Bradford City

3: Charlie Taylor (Leeds United). Underlined his importance to United with sound performances against Forest and Derby. How Leeds missed him in his absence. A model of consistency.

4: Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough). Outstanding against the Owls and turned in an impeccable display. So solid at the back and almost scored at the other end. Having a top season.

5: Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough). Showed his prowess alongside Ayala as Boro recorded a seventh successive league clean sheet. Him and Ayala are the form central defensive partnership in the division along with Shackell and Keogh at Derby, of that there’s no doubt.

READ MORE - Leon Wobschall’s match report from Middlesbrough v Sheffield Wednesday

6: Sam Byram (Leeds United). Remains to be seen whether he will be sticking around at Elland Road, with his future in serious doubt. But if the festive season represents his farewell, he showed what Leeds will miss. Timely leveller at Forest and set up Chris Wood’s second against Derby.

READ MORE - Richard Sutcliffe’s report from Leeds v Derby

7: Martyn Woolford (Sheffield United). Tough time of it for the Blades, but the former quantity surveyor delivered his best performance for the club against Bradford City, setting up a goal against a club who had interest in him in the summer. Benefiting maybe after a heart to heart with Nigel Adkins.

8: Barry Bannan (Sheffield Wednesday). Another who is no stranger to our XI. Came into his own in the second half at the Riverside as he stepped out of the shadow of messrs Clayton and Leadbitter and typically impish and ebullient against Birmingham.

9: Nakhi Wells (Huddersfield Town). Outstanding against PNE on Boxing Day and came off the bench to hit a free-kick stunner to secure a point at QPR. On message with David Wagner and starting to come into his own at last. Gets in the side ahead of Doncaster’s Andy Williams.

10: Fernando Forestieri (Sheffield Wednesday). A regular visitor to this XI and feasted on his second double in successive games by bagging a brace against Birmingham on Boxing Day, becoming the first Owls player to reach double figures at this level since Marcus Tudgay in 2006-07. Entered the fray at the break at Boro and pepped up the Owls - which begged the question, how would the visitors have fared with him in from the start?

READ MORE - Richard Hercock’s match report from Sheffield Wednesday v Birmingham

11: Sam Winnall (Barnsley). Been an at times tough season for the Reds’ main man up front, including a spell cooling his heels on the bench in a torrid autumn. Much more like it against Blackpool, which almost resulted in taking home the match-ball. Just gets the nod ahead of Billy Sharp.

Manager: Nigel Adkins. While the Blades have endured an average first half of the campaign, Adkins has kept his cool, maintaining they if his side were in ‘race in January’ he’d be happy. Getting the Blades on track, with a season-best showing against Bradford putting them in good heart for the business end in the new year.