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Irish Centre Backs Make WhoScored Championship Team Of The Month

Irish Centre Backs Make WhoScored Championship Team Of The Month
By Jonathan Byrne

QPR's Jimmy Dunne and Blackburn Rovers' Darragh Lenihan have made the WhoScored Championship Team of the Month.

The ratings website calculates an aggregate of each player's performance during January. Dunne and Lenihan were the two highest-rated defenders in the league.

QPR enjoyed a fine month of fixtures claiming thirteen points from five games. Dunne's teammate Chris Willock, brother of Newcastle's Joe, is also in the top eleven.

They sit fourth in the Championship table and Dunne started all five games, conceding just two goals in the process. He scored against Reading at the weekend.

Darragh Lenihan has been a rock at the back for Blackburn this season as they are second in the Championship, five points off leaders Fulham.

It's the second month in a row the former Belvedere standout has been picked in the team of the month. Lenihan has played all 27 league games so far this season.

Championship leaders Fulham have five representatives on the team, with Serbian striker Aleksandar Mitrović aggregating the highest overall score with 8.45.

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Republic of Ireland Depth

For two talented defenders, it's incredible to think that Darragh Lenihan has managed just two Republic of Ireland caps while Jimmy Dunne is still waiting on his first.

If there's something the Irish team have in their droves; it's centre backs. The performances of Dunne and Lenihan will spark another conversation about choices going forward.

Upcoming friendlies against Belgium and Lithuania in March should allow Stephen Kenny some wiggle room to hand out new caps and have a look at new players.

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It feels like a long time since there was this much talent on the fringes of the squad. It might be time for Kenny to overlook the elder statesmen at least for these two friendlies.

When you talk about defensive options - Kenny's preferred formation of a back five leaves three open spots in the heart of defence, if he sticks with that shape.

Championship Noise

We ended the World Cup qualifying campaign with John Egan, Shane Duffy, and Seamus Coleman as the preferred trio. Andrew Omobamidele was in the fold when fit.

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The first few qualifying games featured West Brom's Dara O'Shea, who was unlucky not to see more game time for the national side due to injury.

Newcastle United's Ciaran Clark was also a feature of the first few qualifying games, but at 32 and without much form at club level, will probably fall down the pecking order.

Burnley's Nathan Collins seems to be the closest to his first start in a green jersey having been on the substitutes bench for the Republic of Ireland in October and November.

Liam Scales at Celtic is another option, although primarily used as a left-back at club level. He's had a few starts recently including their win over Dundee United at the weekend.

An ankle injury has sidelined Shane Duffy for most of January at Brighton and Andrew Omobamidele hasn't played for Norwich City since the 5th of December in similar circumstances.

With Lenihan and Dunne putting in performances that have overshadowed the likes of John Egan at Sheffield United, the duo would be unlucky not to feature for the Boys In Green in March.

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