TOTW Dembele

Gab Sutton's EFL Team of the Week: Dynamite Karamoko Dembele, Brilliant Lewis Brunt

Gab Sutton is a football expert who specialises in the Sky Bet EFL.

GK: Jonathan Mitchell – Harrogate

After thriving at Macclesfield in 2019/20, Mitchell came away from stints with Northampton and Doncaster with doubters to defy, but he’s doing just that at Harrogate.

The 28-year-old has helped the Sulphurites to four points from the two league games he’s started, a 1-0 win at Walsall followed by a 1-1 draw with Swindon on Saturday.

RB: Callum Johnson – Mansfield

Callum Johnson is automatically in Nigel Clough’s good books for his versatility, capable of playing right wing-back, on the right of a back-three, and as a conventional right-back.

The 27-year-old has played in the latter role in the last two games and, in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Newport, was a threat going forward in what some locals perceive as the best game he’s had in a Stags shirt.

A title-winner at this level with Accrington Stanley in 2017/18, Johnson is out to repeat the trick in Nottinghamshire.


RCB: Brad Hills – Accrington Stanley

Because Norwich have four veteran centre-backs in Shane Duffy, Grant Hanley, Danny Batth and Ben Gibson, their supporters are taking more interest in the development of a 20-year-old centre-back out on loan - Brad Hills.

It’s because Hills is pulling up trees in East Lancashire, as the Stanley centre-back has matured remarkably quickly into a fine young leader.

He won eight headers in Saturday's 2-0 victory over Wrexham, completing four tackles.

LCB: Lewis Brunt – Mansfield

It’s easy to see how Lewis Brunt earned himself a Premier League appearance last season for Leicester, after scooping the 2021/22 Development Squad’s Player of the Year and subsequently attaining a new contract.

Brendan Rodgers’ influence has shown in his loan spell at Mansfield, especially in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Newport, because as well as defending well, the centre-back played a delightful long-range diagonal to pick out Davis Keillor-Dunn in the box for an opening.

Lewis Brunt pass map

Baily Cargill had been so commanding alongside Aden Flint prior to injury but, at this rate, the former Bournemouth defender will struggle to get his place back.

LB: Dan Butler – Stevenage

Dan Butler has a touch of flair and ingenuity about him that few Sky Bet League One left-backs are blessed with.

From his willingness to take corners from a different angle to anyone else, to the timing of his runs that allows him to pop up by the byline at precisely the right moment, Butler is tough to contain, despite not being particularly quick or strong.

In Stevenage’s 1-0 win over Lincoln, he had the vision to pick out a deftly-flighted, first-time “cross-through ball hybrid” that Jamie Reid headed just wide of the near-post, a pass few would have seen let alone had the gumption to execute.

Sure, Butler might have been caught out defensively a few times in the first half when he wasn’t getting much cover, but was far more solid after a couple of half-time tweaks.

DM: Ethan Coleman – Gillingham

The holding midfielder began 2022/23 competing for a place with Shaun Williams, who has played 140 Championship games in his career for Millwall.

And yet, Coleman’s class has trumped the wily Williams, with the 23-year-old bringing an impeccable work ethic to the Gills midfield and looking after the ball with assurance, making him key to the stylistic evolution under Stephen Clemence.

With a 91% pass completion rate and so many of those passes being progressive and constructive for the team, you might say Coleman’s mustard.

RCM: George Maris – Mansfield

Maris is an excellent technician in Sky Bet League Two, with the skill to control and create, and his role in Nigel Clough’s midfield diamond allows him to do both.

George Maris

The 27-year-old enjoyed a steady 82% pass completion rate in Saturday's 2-0 win over Newport, keeping things ticking over, but he also produced a moment of flair to outmanoeuvre an opponent and spot the ball to play in Davis Keillor-Dunn for his second goal.

LCM: Callum Camps – Stockport

Thanks to Saturday's 2-0 win over Colchester, Stockport County have equalled Luton’s fourth-tier record from April 2002 of 12 consecutive league victories.

In order to get the result that put them eight points clear of fourth, the Hatters had to fix a few issues from an undercooked first half.

Camps came on for defender Akil Wright to facilitate a switch from 3-5-2 to a 4-2-2-2, more akin to the 4-4-2 diamond which Challinor has deployed for most of this winning streak.

The former Rochdale trainee instantly gave County more control, and offered something different to the bite and energy provided by Will Collar and Ryan Croasdale.

AM: Karamoko Dembélé – Blackpool 🌟

Dembélé was one of the most exciting teenage talents in world football having made his debut for Celtic U20s at just 13, making his debut for the senior teams three years later.

It hasn’t quite gone to plan for the starlet since then, though, and it may be that being fast-tracked into first team football came with mental and physical challenges, but the ability is still there.

Karamoko Dembele

The 20-year-old is out to get his career back on the right track on loan from Brest to Blackpool, where he’s already accelerated the team’s incisive, one-touch combination play, and got himself an assist in the 4-0 win over Shrewsbury.

RS: Jordan Rhodes – Blackpool

Rhodes netted from the spot for Blackpool, in their 4-0 victory against Shrewsbury, but it was his all-round game that really caught the eye.

A hallmark of a Neil Critchley side is intense pressing from the front, and it’s a testament to the former Liverpool coach’s motivational qualities that he’s got the 33-year-old poacher buying into the plan.

Rhodes’ link-up play has been excellent, and his penalty takes his tally for the season into double figures – so the Seasiders will be hoping the Huddersfield loanee doesn’t get recalled in January.

LS: Macaulay Langstaff – Notts County

After a slow start, Macaulay Langstaff is starting to find the form expected of him this season, now joint-second top goalscorer in League Two with 13 in his previous 15.

Macaulay Langstaff Notts

As well as being a prolific finisher, Langstaff chases defenders all game, and brings the likes of Dan Crowley and David McGoldrick into proceedings.

At this rate, Langstaff is on course to score the most goals in a fourth-tier season since Steve Norris for Halifax in 1990/91.

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