Aiden McGeady has had a superb season for Sunderland
So Phil Smith has picked his XI, including a bench of players who caught the eye in one off games against the Black Cats this season.
Missed out on the official side presumably owing to his inferior clean sheet record. For sheer number of decisive interventions, however, the Scot stands tall. An exceptional campaign from a proven campaigner.
Helped by Lutons system, but one of the most exciting talents in the league. Incredibly consistent contributions in the final third. Pace, power and quality.
Showed in the Checkatrade final why he is destined for the top two tiers. Aerially good, robust and physical, but also reads the game superbly and is a genuine playmaker with ball at feet.
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Rarely beaten in the air and what sets him apart is his composure. His partnership with Liam Lindsay has been vital. Just edges out Luton's impressive Matty Pearson.
Pacey and with good quality near the box, Justin and Stacey have emerged as two players destined for the very top this season.
Just edges out his impressive midfielder partner Andrew Shinnie. Carries the ball well and has not just great energy but intelligence, too. Has a big future.
The standout midfielder in this division by just about any metric. No one in the league has completed more passes than Mowatt, but his stats in terms of interceptions and ball recoveries are remarkable, too.
Should Pompey or Sunderland get over the line then Gareth Evans or Lee Cattermole could lay claim to this spot. But at 38, still thriving and creating in a good side, Coppinger deserves so much credit.
Both he and Jamal Lowe have had heartening and meteoric rises. Lowe has great vision and builds moves well, but Curis has the edge for sheer explosiveness near goal.
The best player one-on-one in this league. That was never in doubt, but McGeady has also worked tirelessly, emerged as a leader in his squad and produced in the final third.
Harsh on Lyle Taylor, whose all-round game is arguably more important to his team than any other striker. Eaves, though, has scored consistently in a struggling side and matched that with excellent target man play. Next season will be massive in his career.
Those who have caught the eye in flashes.....
Crucial to Doncasters high pressing game, Whiteman gets through a lot of passing but its off the ball energy and success that makes you think he will have a very good career in the modern area.
Not as quick as your traditional winger but takes up very intelligent positions and possesses real quality on his left foot. Seems remarkable he has so little career football.
A wretched campaign at Bradford is a waste of a wonderful footballer. His poise, dribbling and vision has stood out both times he has faced the Black Cats.
One of the most exciting talents in the division. Great ability on the ball and a driving force behind a good season for his club.
Sunderland were linked in January and watching him a few days later, it was easy to see why. Decent on the ball but robust and difficult to get past. A promising defender.
Sunderland were taken aback by Burtons midfield during their first defeat of the season. Veteran Stephen Quinn was outstanding, while Fraser was tidy and efficient, something he has carried through a quietly impressive season.