Dream team without U's just a nightmare

Colchester United are just one point adrift of the play-offs with two games remaining. It has been a fantastic season and Carl Marston argues that the U's should not have been overlooked in the PFA's Championship Team of the YearI KNOW that Colchester United are surprising a lot of people this season but I had hoped that the U's would enjoy some representation in the PFA Championship Team of the Year.

Colchester United are just one point adrift of the play-offs with two games remaining. It has been a fantastic season and Carl Marston argues that the U's should not have been overlooked in the PFA's Championship Team of the Year

I KNOW that Colchester United are surprising a lot of people this season but I had hoped that the U's would enjoy some representation in the PFA Championship Team of the Year.

Alas, Geraint Williams' men were completely overlooked in the all-star Championship XI at the Professional Footballers' Association's awards ceremony.

In my opinion, the U's had a very strong case for at least two players to feature in the select team - defender Wayne Brown and striker Jamie Cureton.


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Furthermore, if Greg Halford had stayed at Layer Road, rather than leave for Reading in a club record £2.5m move in January, then I reckon he would have pipped Preston's Graham Alexander to the right-back slot.

Having reported on every single Colchester game this season - it has been already been a terrific campaign, regardless of what happens in the last two games - I have not seen a better centre-half than Brown, nor a more lethal finisher than Cureton.

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Brown has played in every minute of every match, and has been a big reason why the U's are pushing for a play-off spot.

The 29-year-old is in the form of his life, having scooped all the major player-of-the-year awards at Layer Road in last season's successful push for promotion. He is a strong candidate this time around as well.

Of course it is the players who vote for their best XI (they cannot vote for team-mates), but often the “smaller” clubs tend to be overlooked, and I think that's what has happened again this year.

Derby's Darren Moore and West Brom's Curtis Davies got the nod as the two centre-halves in the select team. I would agree with Moore's inclusion, but suggest that Brown should have edged out Davies.

West Brom have flattered to deceive this season, and are still struggling to even secure a play-off place. It is surprising, therefore, that the Baggies have three players in the “Team of the Year.”

The three strikers recognised are Cardiff's Michael Chopra, Birmingham City's Gary McSheffrey and West Brom's Diomansy Kamara. But where is Cureton?

The U's 31-year-old hot-shot is the leading scorer in the Championship, whether or not you just quote league goals or combine them with cup goals.

I admit that covering Colchester United gives me a slight bias, but I don't think it's unreasonable to expect the Championship's leading marksman to feature in the best team in the division.

Cureton (24 goals) has scored two more goals than both Chopra and Kamara in all competitions. In the league goal stakes, he has netted one more than Chopra and three more than Kamara.

A reason for Cureton being omitted might come down to the timing of the PFA vote. The ex-Norwich, Bristol Rovers and Reading marksman has scored nine goals in the last six matches, but the votes had already been lodged and counted before he started this lethal spell of form.

In my book, that makes the whole voting system a bit farcical - how can you select a “Team of the Year” with several weeks of the season still remaining? It should take account of the whole season, not just the first two-thirds!

In contrast to Cureton, fellow striker Chopra has struggled for goals in recent months, just as his Cardiff team have nose-dived out of the promotion race and into mid-table. The ex-Newcastle United striker has managed just one goal in the Bluebirds' last nine fixtures, since late February. Two of his 22 goals have also been penalties, while Cureton has netted just one spot kick in his haul of 24.

Kamara is perhaps the most gifted front-runner in the Championship, and I would certainly have the Senegalese hit-man in my team.

However, I believe that Cureton should have been named in the select team, ahead of either Chopra or McSheffrey.

And on the basis that McSheffrey would probably play on the left side of midfield, in this team, then my vote would go to Cureton instead of Chopra. Football is all about opinions, but I strongly believe that the U's are very unlucky not to have at least one player in this “end-of-season” dream team.

And if I got my way, then Brown and Cureton would both be in the starting XI!

PFA Championship Team of the Year

Matt Murray (Wolves)

Graham Alexander (Preston)

Darren Moore (Derby)

Curtis Davies (West Brom)

Gareth Bale (Southampton)

Carlos Edwards (Sunderland)

Jason Koumas (West Brom)

Dean Whitehead (Sunderland)

Diomansy Kamara (West Brom)

Michael Chopra (Cardiff)

Gary McSheffrey (Birmingham)

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