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The twenty best players in League One: part III - Sunderland’s class stopper features in top ten

There’s another Black Cat included in today’s edition of League One’s twenty best players! But, who else sneaks inside the top ten?

Northampton Town v Fleetwood Town - Sky Bet League One Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images

10. Ashley Hunter (Fleetwood Town - Midfield)

Joey Barton has, annoyingly, had a pretty solid to start to life in management as his Fleetwood side sit just outside of the play-off spots in League One. But, in Ashley Hunter they have someone that underpins everything good about Barton’s side this season.

Hunter currently sits second in the assists table - though he has topped it the majority of the season - helping his team with a tally of ten assists in the league and has also managed to hit six goals of his own. As handy a side as Fleetwood are, the midfielder is the jewel in their crown.

Still only 23-years-old, there will no doubt be teams higher up the pyramid looking at the pacey, athletic midfielder in the summer.

Leicester City v Fleetwood Town - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Replay Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

9. Ronan Curtis (Portsmouth - Winger)

Plucked from the Irish leagues for just £100,000 in the summer, Pompey winger Curtis has been one of the stars of the season and is an absolute bargain.

With an ability to play pretty much anywhere across a front three, Curtis is most comfortable on the left, or straight down the middle. His pace, directness and trickery has been a huge reason for Portsmouth’s successful season - even bagging one against us down at Fratton Park earlier in the campaign.

He’s been one of the finds of the League One season and is another that will have suitors further up the league ladder if Portsmouth’s recent slump continues and they fail to find promotion.

Portsmouth v Queens Park Rangers - FA Cup Fourth Round Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

8. James Collins (Luton Town - Forward)

Perhaps not the most fashionable of players, but if you were to combine goals scored and assists made across the entirety of League One, you’d see powerful striker James Collins sitting top of the pile.

The 28-year-old has been involved in the majority of the Hatters’ goals, and is a big reason why they seem to be running away with the league title.

Whilst he has some fantastic quality around him to provide the ammunition, his 19 goals means he tops the goal-scoring charts, and if his team’s form continues, he’ll deservedly be lining up in the Championship next term.

Luton Town v Sheffield Wednesday - FA Cup Third Round Replay Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

7. Jon Mclaughlin (Sunderland - Goalkeeper)

Do I really need to tell you why he is placed so highly? Of Course not - he’s bloody brilliant.

Experienced, calm, strong, vocal and capable of some terrific saves, I’ve not seen many better goalkeepers at the Stadium of Light when in comes to one on ones.

He was the first goalkeeper in Stadium of Light history to save a penalty (against Fleetwood) and has bailed out a shaky defence countless times throughout the season.

Chalk and cheese compared to last season’s list of Lurpak wristed ‘keepers and a Championship standard one at that. Big Jon is class.

Getty Images

6. Alex Mowatt (Barnsley - Midfield)

The 23-year-old former Leeds United academy product has been absolutely superb for the Tykes this term and is many people’s pick as the best central midfielder in this league - including mine.

Industrious in the engine room, Mowatt has the eye for a killer pass that has resulted in his picking up eight assists for his team as the currently occupy that second promotion spot behind Luton.

His fantastic form this term was rewarded with a new two-year contract in November and he is seen as key to Barnsley’s automatic promotion hopes as the player that knits the team together.

He has attempted more passes than any other midfielder in the league and still sits in third place for passing accuracy with a 80% success rate - outstanding.

Barnsley v Walsall - Sky Bet League One Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images