Numerous players have performed well enough this season to be put on Santa’s nice list, but only a select few wearing a number 25 on the back of their shirts have given their fans gifts this season.
There have been top performers up and down the EFL, from strikers netting more than 15 goals already, to defenders leading their clubs to unbeaten streaks. But who have been the best number 25s?
Massimo Luongo – Ipswich Town
Ipswich have had a remarkable season following their promotion into the Championship. It is unlikely many of their fans would have predicted them to be in the automatic promotion spots come Christmas Day, yet that is what has happened, amassing 52 points in their 23 games so far this term.
It also may have surprised some fans just how key Luongo has been to Mckenna’s side this season. Having signed at Portman Road in January this year, the Australian helped the club move into the championship and has now made 22 appearances in the second tier, scoring two goals from midfield.
It would be unsurprising now, however, to see the former Middlesborough man continue that form going into the second half of the season and potentially help his team into the Premier League.
Matt Crooks – Middlesbrough
Michael Carrick’s side have not had the easiest run of things in the Championship this season, however, following a below-par start in the league, the north-east side now find themselves only three points away from the top six, meaning back-to-back playoff campaigns could be a possibility.
An integral part of the upturn in form for the whole side, is the improvement in form of attacking-midfielder Matt Crooks. The former Rotherham United man has contributed on numerous occasions this season, scoring three times and registering six assists.
If the Riverside Stadium is to see playoff football in May, fans will certainly hope that Crooks will be on the pitch, as he will have undoubtedly been a huge part of the reason they are there in the first place.
Alex Mitchell – Lincoln City
The Imps have had a turbulent start to their fifth season back in League One. From Mark Kennedy being let go in October, to the club’s attacking injury crisis, their current position of ninth in the table is admirable.
A lot of that success this season has been down to their defence, only conceding 24 goals in 23 matches, a figure which was only increased by their 3-1 loss away at Derby County last Thursday.
For a loan player to come in and become a key member of a defence that performed so well together last season is highly remarkable. Alex Mitchell has done just that since joining on loan from Millwall in the summer. Making 13 starts and scoring once, the 21-year-old has impressed with his no-nonsense defensive style so far this season.
Abu Kamara – Portsmouth
The Fratton Park faithful have been treated to some special football this season, witnessing their side obliterate opposition and rightfully earn their spot at the top of the tree for Christmas Day. The league leaders have accumulated 49 points already, having scored 38 goals in their opening 22 League One games.
Although the whole squad have been firing on all cylinders so far this term, their wide-attacker Abu Kamara has still managed to stand out. The loanee joined Pompey from Norwich City in the summer and has already appeared over 20 times for the south-coast side. His four goals and two assists show the quality that the youngster has, and he could potentially finish the season with a promotion on his CV.
Joe Taylor – Colchester United
The U’s are another side who have gone through a managerial change this season, after Ben Garner was let go after just 24 matches in charge. The side have flirted with the relegation zone for most of this campaign, yet their 32 goals scored has helped keep them above the drop zone.
A large part of their attacking threat has been centre-forward Joe Taylor. The Welshman joined the Essex outfit in the summer on a loan deal from Luton Town and has hit the ground running. Already hitting double digits for goals scored in League Two, after only making 22 appearances, he could be the key to keeping Colchester in the Football League.
Santa Claus may be the one bringing gifts to children this year, yet fans of these clubs will see these star performers as the only ones who can truly bring the festive cheer this time of year.