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EFL: Team of the Week

7 August 2017

The 2017/18 Sky Bet EFL season is well and truly under way, and now it's time for the first Team of the Week of the new campaign.

We do try and limit our weekly selection to one player per team, but a certain club really caught the eye on the opening weekend, earning themselves extra plaudits.

So, without further ado...

Goalkeeper: Mark Gillespie (Walsall)

Walsall suffered defeat on the opening day of the new season, but goalkeeper Gillespie did his utmost to give the Saddlers a chance.

The summer signing denied Bury’s Jermaine Beckford and Chris Maguire from the penalty spot in a memorable debut, but he was helpless to prevent the former from scoring the winning goal.

Defender: Willy Boly (Wolverhampton Wanderers)

Wolves made a strong start to life under Nuno Espirito Santo, getting the better of recently relegated Middlesbrough with a 1-0 win on the opening day.

Boly superbly marshalled the defence, dealing with Boro’s club record signing Britt Assombalonga along with everything else that Garry Monk’s side could throw at the hosts.

Defender: Jack O’Connell (Sheffield United)

Sheffield United romped to the Sky Bet League One title last term despite a sluggish start, but they kicked off their Sky Bet Championship campaign with three points at home to Brentford on Matchday 1.

While Billy Sharp scored at one end, the Blades’ defence held firm at the other — and O’Connell made a key block to deny his former club an equaliser at Bramall Lane.

Defender: Patrick Bauer (Charlton Athletic)

Charlton were up against it early on when welcoming Bristol Rovers to The Valley, playing much of the game with 10 men after Lee Novak’s dismissal.

However, Bauer didn’t allow Rovers to take advantage of the extra man with an assured defensive display, and he headed the game’s only goal to get the Addicks up and running.

Midfielder: Jodi Jones (Coventry City)

One of two opening day hat-tricks came from Coventry’s teenage starlet Jones, who single-handedly fired his side to a 3-0 victory over Notts County.

Casually slotting home a fine first, Jones struck twice in the last 10 minutes to guarantee his team the points and himself the match ball.

Midfielder: Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United)

A new era at Leeds took just seven minutes to get going, when Phillips curled home a fine effort to put them in front at Bolton Wanderers.

Two days after signing a new contract with the club, the 21-year-old added another before the break as Thomas Christiansen’s outfit registered a 3-2 win at the Macron.

Midfielder: Andrew Shinnie (Luton Town)

Luton ran riot against Yeovil Town with a stunning 8-2 victory in the first game of the season, and Shinnie was one of the many stars of the show at Kenilworth Road.

The midfielder on loan from Birmingham excelled in the Hatters’ midfield, laying on four goals in the rout.

Midfielder: Garry Thompson (Morecambe)

Morecambe’s opening day win over Cheltenham Town was the perfect homecoming for veteran Thompson, bagging a brace on his return to the club he departed in 2008.

Trailing 1-0, the 36-year-old levelled matters, before scoring a last-minute winner to clinch all three points.

Forward: Bobby Reid (Bristol City)

Reid netted on the opening day of last season, and he raced out the blocks once again, only this time going one better with two goals in a 3-1 win over Barnsley.

Converted to a more advanced role this term, the local lad showed his striking prowess and teed up strike partner Famara Diedhiou as the Robins topped the table after Matchday 1.

Forward: James Collins (Luton Town)

Another happy Hatter in our Team of the Week, Collins was the other player to net an opening-weekend treble.

The striker scored 22 goals for Crawley last term, and he brought that form with him to his new club with three well-taken strikes in the hammering of Yeovil Town.

Forward: Conor McAleny (Fleetwood Town)

Another memorable debut came from McAleny for Fleetwood, making his mark with a couple of fine goals to give the Cod Army the perfect start to the new season.

It was Rotherham United who were undone by the former Everton striker, sweeping home in the first half and adding a second after some neat work inside the penalty area.

Manager: Nathan Jones (Luton Town)

Plenty of contenders for this honour on the opening day, but it has to go Nathan Jones — completing a hat-trick of Luton appearances in 2017/18’s first Team of the Week.

The Hatters boss got six of his eight summer signings involved against Yeovil, with three getting on the scoresheet and new goalkeeper Marek Stech saving a penalty in a stunning start to the campaign.

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