Kasey Palmer was named by the Examiner as the young player of the season so far for Huddersfield Town, with two goals and two assists to his name already.
And we wanted to find out which young player stands out for the other teams around the Championship too.
We’ve spoken to our network of reporters across the country and collected their views to come up wit a definitive list of the breakthrough players and young players from this year’s Championship to date.
Here’s who makes the cut.
“ He’s destined for the top.”
Gregg Evans, Birmingham Mail
Aston Villa fans feared the worst when Pierluigi Gollini made a series of high-profile howlers early into his claret and blue career.
Errors against Sheffield Wednesday, Huddersfield Town and Bristol City ended up costing Villa crucial points when they needed them the most.
But credit to the 21-year-old, who is Villa’s second-youngest first-team regular, for bouncing back.
In recent months he has started to show why he’s so highly rated and why Villa paid Hellas Verona £4million in the summer to secure his services.
Speak to those who have worked with Gollini and they all say the same thing: He’s destined for the top.
To be playing regularly in the Championship at just 21 is impressive and time is on his side.
Those nervy early days helped him realise that things are different over here in England.
You don’t get as much time on the ball and if you’re kicking is poor, you will be punished.
Now, though, we’re talking about his attributes for all the right reasons.
In each of his past five games, Gollini has pulled off a number of fine saves.
Here is a youngster who begged the coach of his hometown club in Italy to play him in goal because he knew he had something special.
Just a few years later, every top club in the country wanted him but he chose Manchester United.
One day in the not-so-distant future he will line up against his former side and that will be a measure of how far he has come.
He has the making of a top-class international stopper.
“ The incentive is there for Kay.”
Simon Gaskell, Sports journalist and Barnsley fan
The Reds’ squad has remained largely settled as they have relied on a core group of players to tackle the Championship challenge this season.
One man who was thrown in through necessity against Bristol City from the under-23s was Josh Kay.
The 19-year- old, signed from AFC Fylde in February, deputised well given the circumstances.
With Hourihane and Josh Scowen both missing, he took on the role in the middle of midfield
alongside Sam Morsy and showed some promising glimpses in his 88-minute debut.
Getting around the field well, he also sprayed the ball around beautifully at times and is obviously highly thought of to be given the shirt when Paul Heckingbottom could have tinkered his side in other ways to accommodate more experienced players.
Whether he will see too much more first-team action for the rest of the season remains to be seen but with the likes of Bree having made the step up, the incentive is there for Kay.
“ Birmingham's Prodigal Son returned with renewed vigour and commitment.”
Brian Dick, Birmingham Mail
Some players are so promising they have two breakthroughs.
This is not a typical case of academy kid presses claim so hard he can't be ignored then takes Championship by storm.
Brown's story is far more nuanced than that.
Everyone at St Andrew's has known about the midfielder's lavish ability for a very long time, indeed he actually made his first team debut as a 17-year-old in September 2013.
However, that proved to be a false start, he made eight appearances in the 2013/2014 season and then drifted out to the fringes.
He played just three more times in the next two seasons - and ended up suspended in March 2016 over concerns about his professionalism.
That shock treatment seemed to do the trick, Birmingham's Prodigal Son returned with renewed vigour and commitment and has forced his way back into the manager's thinking.
He played six times so far this term, been in most match-day squads and has applied himself manfully for the Under 23s.
Hopefully there is still a lot more to be written about Brown's second coming but the signs he might one day fulfil his vast potential are much more positive.
“ We should be seeing a lot more of him in a Blackburn shirt.”
Sam Jones, UCLan journalism student and Blackburn fan
Local lad Scott Wharton made his senior debut at home to Burton Albion earlier in the season and did not look out of place at the heart of the defence. He almost had the perfect debut, but a late equaliser from the visitors denied Rovers a first home win of the season.
The centre-half followed that up with his first goal for the club in the EFL Cup against Crewe Alexandra. Despite having limited opportunities since then, the 19 year-old is a bright prospect for the future.
Once a Blackburn season ticket holder, he was spotted playing for a junior grassroots football club. A strong tackler, Wharton is willing to put his body on the line, but also possesses the ability to spray accurate balls out to the wings. After working his way through the academy ranks, he signed his first professional contract at the club in October 2015.
Wharton is the first home-grown academy player to break into the first team since the trio of Phil Jones, Adam Henley and Jason Lowe during Rovers’ last Premier League seasons. The last two remain part of the squad, while Jones was sold to Manchester United for around £20million.
Wharton still has some way to go before emulating them and may require a loan spell further down the Football League pyramid to get some more game time and experience. But we should be seeing a lot more of him in a Blackburn shirt.
“ He is one of the first names on Dean Smith’s team sheet.”
Tom Moore, Get West London
When looking at the young players at Brentford, there is only one man who stands out and that is Josh Clarke.
It is incredible to think that, back in January, he could quite easily have departed Griffin Park for pastures new as he wasn’t getting a look in for the first team.
Now, though, he is one of the first names on Dean Smith’s team sheet and has two goals to his name so far this season.
He opened his account against Reading in September, bagging a man of the match award for his performance.
Clarke then followed it up with a dominant display at QPR, twisting and turning his way through the Rangers defence and gave Jack Robinson a torrid time.
He was rewarded with the opening goal and played a crucial role in the second as he picked up the man of the match award in front of the Sky cameras.
Clarke is shy when dealing with the media as he saw his job as just playing football but, since the winner at QPR, is a lot more comfortable dealing with questions.
In some ways, he reminds me of Harry Kane who was similar during a loan spell at Millwall but, after a few goals, became more confident in handling the press.
We all know how Kane’s career in the top flight took off over the past two years; Clarke has time on his side and, if he continues developing at the rate he has, who knows how far he can go.
“ He is definitely one to watch.”
Lee Wilmot, Croydon Advertiser
Brighton have a reasonably settled, strong first team squad, which has shown in their consistency in the past two years.
So it can be difficult for young players to break through into the first team fold.
Much like youngsters at Premier League clubs, they sometimes have to find first team opportunities elsewhere, before they can make an impact at the Amex.
One such player doing just that is Jordan Maguire-Drew.
The 19-year-old striker was superb for Worthing as they won promotion from the Ryman league Division One South via the play-offs last season, scoring in the final, and he was promptly snapped up by National League side Dagenham & Redbridge.
And he has slotted effortlessly into their side as they gun for promotion back to the Football League, scoring five times in 18 appearances with the Daggers third in the table.
Another prospect is right-back Rob Hunt, who has seen some EFL Cup action and been involved for Brighton’s U23s in the Checkatrade Trophy. The 21-year-old also came off the bench during the Seagulls’ 1-0 Championship win over Burton Albion so is definitely one to watch.
“ He has certainly shown enough to suggest he can be a big part of this City side.”
Andy Stockhausen, Bristol Post
Perhaps because he is the longest serving player on City’s books currently, it is easy to forget that Bobby Reid is still just 23 years of age, another player still in his formative years.
Although the Bristol-born midfielder has made 115 appearances in the Football League, he is a relative newcomer to the Championship and, as such, his progress in 2016 has been exceptional.
If I was pressed to select a young player who has made a significant breakthrough this season, then I would plump for Reid ahead of his fellow City Academy product Joe Bryan.
Seldom afforded a run of games in the team before Johnson’s arrival, Reid has responded to encouragement from the young head coach, translating potential into the hard currency of seven-out-of-ten performances in the English second tier.
Always eye-catching on the ball, Reid’s ability to produce a meaningful end product and affect a game was open to question until recently. Lee Johnson challenged him to add goals to his game and he has obliged, netting twice towards the end of last season and contributing another four this term.
He may be on the small side at 5ft 7in, but the Bristolian makes up for that by his speed of foot and thought, which enables him to remain one step ahead of bigger, stronger opponents.
Like any player who is still finding his feet at a higher level, Reid has not been entirely consistent in his levels of performance this season. But he has certainly shown enough to suggest he can be a big part of this City side in the short to medium-term future.
“ He has that knack of finding pockets of space and moving the ball along quickly.”
Ashley Wilkinson, Burton Mail
Although Nigel Clough targeted experience over the summer as the Brewers prepared for Championship life for the first time, Clough has continued to utilise his academy system and last April, handed professional contracts to Marcus Dinanga, Charlie Gatter and Ben Fox.
And it is the latter that has made the biggest breakthrough thus far with the Brewers. A thoroughly impressive pre-season campaign from the youngster – born locally and a former pupil at John Taylor High School in Barton-under-Needwood - saw 18-year-old Fox establish himself in Albion’s first team squad of around 20.
Fox’s senior bow would soon follow, and it doesn’t get much better than Liverpool at home, does it? Especially for a Reds fan. Fox was introduced in the second round of the EFL Cup and placed on the right of midfield – up against James Milner at left-back and that constantly rotating attacking six that Jurgen Klopp has employed.
A second appearance and a league debut arrived in the 77th minute of Albion’s September clash with second-placed Brighton and Hove Albion, coming on as a substitute to replace Hamza Choudhury and again taking residence in midfield.
A regular for the under-23s side and highly rated by Clough, Fox has demonstrated his credentials for Albion’s reserves. An accomplished passer of the ball, Fox has that knack of finding pockets of space and moving the ball along quickly.
Of course, there is plenty of work ahead for Fox yet. Fans always love to see a local player make the first team. Fox has done so, and has plenty of years ahead of him to establish himself further yet.
“ Cardiff look far better with him in the side.”
Philip Smith, Wales Online
These are still very early days in Joe Bennett's Cardiff City career.
Plenty of players in recent times have started well, only for their form to fade and to find
themselves cast aside from the first team picture.
With Bennett, the Bluebirds simply cannot afford for that to happen.
He has played only five games but already his pace and verve look crucial to Neil Warnock's hopes of building a more dynamic side capable of beating sides and building a head of steam at home.
He has come up against some fine players in his spell at left-back so far and has ultimately come through the other side.
His debut against Bristol City was impressive, though it seemed his eagerness to come out and press midfielders on the ball came as a surprise to his team-mates. There were plenty of gaps left in behind him but that was quickly corrected and he and Junior Hoilett are dovetailing well. Now that energy and instinct to engage opponents looks to be an asset.
Bennett's injury after signing was frustrating as his pace was needed, particularly in Paul Trollope's 3-5-2. Cardiff look far better with him in the side.
“ Lowe has responded to upheaval with a series of wonderfully mature displays.”
Steve Nicholson, Derby Telegraph
The 19-year-old left back has progressed through Derby County's Academy having joined the club at 10.
He made his first-team debut in an EFL Cup tie against Carlisle United in August, and showed good nerve to dispatch a penalty in the shoot-out.
His league debut came when he started the 2-0 victory over Cardiff City in South Wales at the end of September.
There was a lot of pressure on the side at the time. An awful run of one win in nine league games had left Rams in the Championship's bottom three and manager Nigel Pearson had been suspended just hours before the Cardiff fixture.
How would the players respond to the upheaval?
Positively, was the answer, and Lowe produced a wonderfully mature display that was praised by stand-in boss Chris Powell, the ex-England international who knows a thing or two about playing left back.
Lowe has represented England at under-16, 17, 18 and 20 levels, and he recently signed a new four-year contract to run until the summer of 2020.
“ Bigging him up is asking other clubs to look at him.”
Paul Warburton, Get West London
By a country mile, Ryan Sessegnon is the Fulham future.
He’s not 17 until May next year, and ex-England etc Scott Parker was old enough to be his dad when the two were in the same Whites EFL Cup side against Leyton Orient in August.
But as sung in the King and I: ‘if you become a teacher, by your pupils you'll be taught.’
Parker marvelled at the young left-back’s show that night, and their boss thought much the same by picking Sessegnon another eight times, in which he scored twice – that’s from left-back just to remind.
In fact, said pair of strikes earned Fulham two points, a 2-2 draw against Cardiff and the teenager’s last kick of the match against Burton for a 1-1 draw.
His scriptwriter should get a bonus.
There are rough bits to smooth out, of course.
Blessed with blistering pace, Sessegnon is somewhat gung-ho charging forward, no doubt under instruction, but as a defender it’s left Fulham exposed at the back on occasion.
Slavisa Jokanovic doesn’t like to talk him about him much.
The head coach thinks bigging up a player this young is asking for trouble. Actually it’s asking other clubs to look at him – Tottenham are known to be interested.
And it didn’t stop Fulham talking to Sessegnon and his family to convince them he should sign four-year pre-contract that will land on his mat with the birthday cards in May.
“ His dedication to the cause has brought him deserved praise from the Town faithful.”
Rory Benson, Huddersfield Examiner
The on-loan Chelsea midfielder may not have played every game for Huddersfield Town this season, but has quickly become a firm fan favourite.
Palmer started his Town career on the bench against Brentford, but would have his name up in lights on the same day.
After Town's dismal 5-1 defeat to the Bees in the last match of the previous season, there was much anticipation for the same fixture on the opening weekend of this campaign - just how far had David Wagner brought his side in the post and pre-season?
Elias Kachunga's strike had been cancelled out by Nico Yennaris in the 77th minute, but Palmer - who turned 20 yesterday - had the last laugh.
When Rajiv Van La Parra's shot was parried by goalkeeper Daniel Bentley, Palmer was first on the scene, taking only two touches to slot the ball home and spark wild celebrations from boss David Wagner.
Since then, the midfielder has gone from strength to strength, looking more composed on the ball with every minute he plays for the first team.
A second goal of the season came at the John Smith's Stadium against Queens Park Rangers and Palmer has since started six of Town seven matches.
Head coach Wagner has said he sees Palmer and Jack Payne as interchangeable in the number 10 role, but it is becoming harder and harder to leave the Chelsea loanee out of the side.
Palmer plays with a smile on his face and his performances and dedication to the cause have brought him deserved praise from the Town faithful.
“ Webster’s approach could become more and more valuable as this season progresses.”
Darren Campbell, Ipswich Town fan at the Birmingham Mail
Before even arriving in Suffolk, Adam Webster was already being tipped for a very bright future.
The Portsmouth centre-back was singled out by Town boss McCarthy when the two sides met in the FA Cup in January, and Ipswich paid out around £750,000 plus Matt Clarke for his services - Mick McCarthy's biggest purchase to date during his time in East Anglia.
Fresh out of League Two, the 21-year- old was immediately thrown in at the deep end at Portman Road.
Despite Ipswich having a well-established centre-back pairing of Tommy Smith and Christophe Berra in recent years, Webster was picked ahead of Smith on the opening day against Barnsley and has started 12 of Town's 16 league fixtures this season.
Notwithstanding the substantial step up to Championship football, Webster seems to have settled swiftly in the second tier.
After a few early season mistakes, his performances have since contributed towards six of Ipswich's seven clean sheets in the league, including an outstanding display at home to Aston Villa.
But Webster's influence goes beyond just defence. Backed by coaches at Portsmouth and other observers alike for a future career in the Premier League, his approach has been likened to that of Man City's John Stones, regularly keeping and bringing the ball forward from the heart of a Town defence that has generally served as launchpad for the long ball.
Indeed, it's possible that Webster could prove a pioneering influence in helping Ipswich evolve a new style altogether.
With fans putting pressure on McCarthy to instigate a more attractive and forward-thinking brand of football, Webster's approach was a significant draw for the Town boss - and could become more and more valuable as this season progresses.
“ He looks, and certainly sounds, like a player to watch out for in the future.”
David Dubas-Fisher, Trinity Mirror Data Unit
Leeds United have a wealth of young talent at the moment. However, despite their relatively young ages most of them have already had their breakthrough seasons.
Charlie Taylor, for example, is still only 23 but is widely considered one of the best left-backs in the Championship. Hadi Sacko (22) has impressed and wasn't well known before coming to Elland Road but did break into the Bordeaux first team as far back as 2012, while Kalvin Phillips (20) scored his first senior goal two seasons ago.
The breakthrough star this season then is the man with perhaps the greatest name in football - Ronaldo Vieira.
The 18-year-old midfielder scored the winning penalty as Leeds knocked out Norwich to reach the EFL Cup quarter-finals against Liverpool. He then went on to slay the Canaries again, scoring a 25-yard screamer to give Leeds a famous 3-2 victory at Carrow Road.
Ronaldo Vieira looks, and certainly sounds, like a player to watch out for in the future, as does his twin brother Romario Vieira.
“ Surely you’d expect Newcastle to nail down one of their best young talents?”
Lee Ryder, Newcastle Chronicle
There is one player in Newcastle United’s Under-23s who is causing a lot of interest and excitement, step forward Sean Longstaff.
At 19 he has proved he can play in a host of positions so far.
Two years ago Longstaff netted double figures for the Academy and reserve sides before being played in a holding role in his second campaign in the reserves.
For those who have watched him develop though, Longstaff is at his best in an attacking midfield role or as a number 10
His eight goals so far have caught the attention of watching scouts and while there was an England talent spotter in the crowd checking on Fred Woodman in the recent 2-0 win over Middlesbrough in the Under-23 league, Longstaff’s performance won’t have gone unnoticed.
Longstaff is a good technical player with an eye for goal but his next move is more likely to be a January loan rather than elevation to the first team.
A clutch of scouts from England and Scotland are watching the midfielder.
Longstaff will be out of contract at the end of the season and surely you’d expect Newcastle to nail down one of their best young talents?
“ In Murphy they possess the kind of attacking quality which will attract envious glances.”
Tom Marshall-Bailey, Trinity Mirror Regionals
You’d be hard-pressed to choose between Jacob Murphy and his twin brother Josh.
The Norwich City pair have been the standouts in terms of players to have truly staked a claim for regular first-team football this season, with Jacob just shading it.
Josh may feel hard done by given a hat-trick and brace in consecutive Checkatrade Trophy appearances, while he also netted in the famous EFL Cup win at Everton.
But Jacob’s influence on this Norwich side is clear and his five-goal tally to date is bettered by only one other player in Cameron Jerome.
That’s no mean feat at the age of 21 and his achievements this season are made all the more impressive when you consider he had only made two outings for Norwich prior to this season. Josh had featured regularly in both the 2013/14 and 2014/15 seasons by contrast.
But following on from a productive loan spell at Coventry City last term, Jacob has been a key figure in a Norwich side which have already racked up some 28 Championship goals this season, the second highest total in the division.
Alex Neil’s side may have stumbled in their push for promotion of late due to problems at the other end of the field, but in Murphy they possess the kind of attacking quality which will attract envious glances from other Championship sides.
“ He is a young man who Forest have high hopes for.”
Paul Taylor, Nottingham Post
Had he not been sold back in August, this title would almost certainly have gone to the explosive winger Oliver Burke.
But it remains a positive sign for the future for Nottingham Forest that, following his £13m departure to RB Leipzig, there are numerous other young players who are pushing to make their mark on the Reds first team.
Joe Worrall has not looked out of place after being handed his first two Championship starts in Forest’s last two games. The young defender has slotted straight into the team and performed with decisiveness and confidence.
Hilderberto Pereira’s impact has also been impressive, with the young defender or winger helping to at least partly fill the void left by Burke’s departure.
But the on-loan Benfica man needs to address his disciplinary issues if he is to have a consistent impact with the Reds, as he will have already been suspended for SIX games in November, following three red cards.
Two of those dismissals have been harsh, admittedly. But he still cannot make an impact if he is not on the pitch.
Cash’s contribution has also been limited – only in more unfortunate circumstances, with injury halting his progress just as he was starting to look like a player with real promise.
A high energy, confident and attack minded midfielder, Forest will welcome back the 19-year-old when he returns from a fractured leg, hopefully not too long after Philippe Montanier’s side return to action after the international break.
Cash has only made three starts and a single sub appearances for the Reds, by the time he suffered his injury. But a 12-game loan spell with Dagenham last season clearly provided him with a useful grounding and Forest will hope to see him back in a red shirt soon.
And he remains a young man who Forest have high hopes for.
“ A huge vote of confidence has allowed Robinson to show what he is capable of.”
Oliver Dawes, Sports Journalist and Preston North End fan
Much like Wolves' Jordan Graham and North End playmaker Daniel Johnson, Callum Robinson was a player who came up through the ranks at Aston Villa, but was cast aside when he wasn't given a chance in the first team.
After three separate loan spells at Deepdale, Preston were happy to sign Robinson on a permanent deal, seeing real potential in the former England youth international – but few expected him to have such a huge impact this season.
The 21-year-old has made himself all-but indispensable this season, providing real pace and direction from the left hand side, or giving North End a counter-attacking outlet as a striker away from home.
His record of three goals in 15 appearances may not seem too impressive, but he has given a previously one-paced Preston attack a new dimension, and he is causing Championship full backs all sorts of problems on a weekly basis now, adding consistency to his game.
Robinson seems to have benefited from leaving Villa on a permanent basis. Between September 2014 and July 2016, Robinson had spent three loan spells at Preston and one at Bristol City, and that instability was preventing the forward from settling down and establishing himself under just one manager.
Now, he knows where his future lies. He's playing under a manager who has now signed him four times in less than two years, and that huge vote of confidence has allowed Robinson to show what he is capable of, producing consistently dangerous performances and developing week-by-week – and if he continues his progression, he'll be attracting Premier League interest in no time.
Queens Park Rangers
“ His enthusiasm and speed has caught the eye.”
Paul Warburton, Get West London
QPR have a few contenders for best young hope.
It says a lot for the academy run by Chris Ramsey that three fresh faces have already made their debut this season.
Ramsey may not have been his bosses’ taste as first-team coach.
But it was easy to see why the club went back for him a few months after he was sacked a year ago this week.
The one plus in a middling season, when Ramsey's replacement Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has also been shown the door, has been the breakthroughs by midfielder Olamide Shodipo, known as ‘Mide’ to everyone at the club, Nicolas Hamalainen at left-back, and Osman Kakay on the other side of defence.
Of the three, Shodipo has played the most – 10 times so far – and was included in the opening day 3-0 win over Leeds.
It was big a gamble to throw in a 19-year-old for a big game, but the teenager lived up to expectations after an excellent pre-season.
Shodipo plays on the left, and his enthusiasm and speed has caught the eye.
There’s plenty he still has to learn, but of the 10 appearances so far, he’s only been on the losing side twice.at with the birthday cards in May.
“ He’s clearly benefitting hugely from working under Jaap Stam.”
Charles Watts, Get Reading
When you consider that Liam Kelly was loaned out to non-league Bath City last season, the Irishman deserves huge credit for what he has achieved so far this season.
At the end of the 2015/16 campaign there wouldn’t have been many people tipping the 20-year-old to go on and make a breakthrough at the club.
He had been in and around things at the Mad Stad for a while without even really threatening the first-team - but that all changed when the new Dutch regime arrived.
Kelly made an immediate impression on technical director Brian Tevreden before doing similar with Jaap Stam - he was included in the touring squad to Holland in the summer and caught the eye during that training camp.
Since then he has been rewarded with appearances in the League Cup and the Championship - with his most recent showing at Arsenal very impressive.
But despite all that, I still think I will have to go for Watson - who really has made a massive breakthrough during the past few months.
Another player who impressed during the summer, Watson has barely put a foot wrong during his first-team appearances so far this season.
Despite being just 19 he looks calm, tactically assured and is a wonderful athlete, someone who can comfortably get up and down the right hand side.
Sometimes when you have a young player involved, especially in defence, it can lead to nervousness and confusion - but that’s not the case with Watson and I think that’s the biggest compliment you can give him.
He seems to take everything in this stride and plays without fear.
He’s clearly benefitting hugely from working under Stam and if he continues developing at his current rate he will soon start putting real pressure on Chris Gunter for the first choice right-back spot.
“ Brown has been lively, playing the role of creator-in-chief.”
Richard Sharpe, Rotherham United fan at The Sentinel
One things Alan Stubbs did do during his ill-fated spell was to sign some younger, less experienced, players than the Millers have become used to under previous managers.
Too many some may say, particularly given the predicament they found themselves in.
He signed England youth internationals Izzy Brown, from Chelsea, and Dael Fry, from Middlesbrough on loan, as well as Darnell Fisher, from Celtic, as he looked to bring a new style of signing to the club.
Brown has been lively playing just off Ward, playing the role of creator-in-chief, and has scored twice in 11 appearances so far.
From their own ranks, Jerry Yates has threatened to break into the first-team picture, but the signings of Dexter Blackstock and Peter Odemwingie have moved him down the pecking order.
“ Hirst junior appears to have it all the attributes of his dad.”
Matt Harris, Essex Live
The 17-year- old son of Owls legendary striker David, a lot is expected of teenage striker George Hirst.
Hirst senior was branded the total striker, boasting pace, height, strength, skill and a powerful left foot, though he was just as good with his right.
Third in the list of all time Wednesday goalscorers, a horrible tackle by Steve Bould, braking his ankle, were the start of the striker’s injury problems and he played just 25 times between 1993-95.
Taller and thinner than his father, Hirst junior appears to have it all the attributes of his dad and has banged goals in for Wednesday’s youth teams.
He made his first appearance for the senior team in the EFL Cup defeat at Cambridge, playing the whole of extra-time.
However it is for England’s youth teams where he has really caught the eye. Hirst scored two goals in three appearances for the U17s, both coming in his full debut against Germany.
He also has two in four appearances for the U18s, scoring twice and setting up another in the 5-1 demolition of Israel.
“ The towering central defender will play a vital part if the Latics are to avoid the drop.”
Tom Marshall-Bailey, Trinity Mirror Regionals
If Warren Joyce fails in keeping his new charges up, it won’t be for their defensive performance.
That may seem an odd thing to say after a 3-0 home defeat but given the opposition were promotion-chasing Reading and it was Joyce’s first match in charge there were mitigating circumstances surrounding the game.
It was the first time the Latics have lost by more than one goal this season and the fact only 11 sides have better defensive records this season tells its own story.
And summer signing Dan Burn has played an integral role in keeping Wigan afloat this season since his move from Fulham.
He has slotted into the backline alongside veterans such as Stephen Warnock and Jake Buxton and excelled, particularly in keeping clean sheets against Blackburn Rovers, former club Fulham, Brentford, Burton Albion and Cardiff City.
The towering central defender will play a vital part if the Latics are to avoid the drop back down to League One this season
“ He could be the gold that gets Wolves in the play-offs.”
Steve Wollaston, Birmingham Mail
When it comes to youth and vitality, Helder Costa has it in abundance.
The 22-year-old winger arrived from Benfica on a season-long loan as the first signing of the Fosun regime.
The player was pinpointed by Fosun’s associate and super-agent Jorge Mendes as a player that could help Wolves.
He was one of a number of player identified by Mendes for the rebuilding process, and arguably he has made the best impression.
The Portugese Under 23 international is an exciting talent and of his country’s emerging prospects.
Which makes his transfer to the brutal and unforgiving terrain of the Championship even more peculiar.
There have been moments this season where he has show his excellence and driven the team on with his pace and quick feet.
In other games the Championship has swallowed him up, that will be part of his learning curve.
Against Derby in the last game at Molineux, Costa was a menace in a free-flowing game that ultimately was lost because of shoddy defensive positioning.
What is apparent is that Costa is a talent, a nugget waiting to be polished, if Paul Lambert can get him playing week in and week out, he could be the gold that gets Wolves in the play-offs.