What of the Old Guard?
Ricketts: In my eyes City's second best player of last season, the right-back has only enjoyed a lukewarm start to life in the top flight. He struggled in the first few games, before Paul McShane was signed and has kept him out of the team with a series of solid displays. Ricketts was excellent last week against Man City at left-back, and it will be interesting to see if he will be in the side when Dawson regains fitness. I'd like to see him get another run at right-back personally, as he offers more going forward than McShane.
Turner: He was robbed not to be in the latest England squad for the Germany game. Simple as that. Turner was rightly made player of the season last year, and looks a good bet for the accolade this term as well. He's added a few more goals to his game this season, scoring valuable goals against Everton, West Ham and Pompey. If City don't stay up (sorry to be negative, but it is city), then Turner would be the first to be snapped up by a Premiership team.
Brown: Played a huge part in City's success, and helped Michael Turner immeasurably. He was never going to be first choice this season, as his lack of pace was a major concern. The Wigan game was proof for some that he's not up to this level. I would argue that he's still a good defender, and wasn't 100% match fit in the game against Wigan. He's now returned from a loan spell at Preston to fight for his place, but was reported in the Lancashire press as saying that he accepts he will probably move on in January. He will do so with the Tiger Nation's best wishes.
Dawson: A surprise package for many this season, Daws has coped admirably with the step up, particularly at the Emirates where he did a great job in shackling Theo Walcott. He looks like he's been a Premiership full back all his life, despite many claiming we should have sold him last season.
Garcia: I find Richard Garcia a curious player. He contributed greatly at times last season, but frustrated in equal measure. The signing of Stelios puts Garcia further down the pecking order, and I expect him to move back to the Championship in January, as he doesn't look like getting a regular starting place for City, particularly when Fagan is available.
Marney: A revelation. I admit that I thought he'd be found out at this level, but he's flourished. I still maintain that his passing should be better, and that when called upon to break down a team, he struggles, but that's rarely a problem at this level, in that few teams sit back and defend against the newly promoted teams. He's been a colossus in the majority of games this season, and has rightly been rewarded with a new contract.
Ashbee: He's done it again. Critics said he wouldn't be good enough for League One. He was. There's no way he could do it in the Championship!, they cried. He was. And this Premiership lark has been a stroll so far. He's led by example, and has enjoyed the extra time on the ball at this level. He looks more secure of his place than George Boateng, which is a huge compliment in itself.
Hughes: A quietly effective presence last season, he's been given little chance to shine so far. His one chance came against Man Utd, and he will have been disappointed with his showing at Old Trafford, where he was largely anonymous and did little to stake his claim for a regular starting place. He's still a capable squad player, but can't be expecting much first team football this season.
Windass: Poor old Deano. Frustrated at not even making the bench in the majority of games, his season has been dominated by complaints in his ITV column and a bit of handbags with Marlon King. He's still got the nous to be very effective in this division, as we saw at Fratton Park, and I think he could be a good foil for either King or Cousin if we decide to change to 4-4-2. It's still hard to assess where Windass is in Phil Brown's plans. He could quite easily move on in January.
Campbell: Not surprisingly, Fraiser chose to go to Tottenham at the start of the season. On paper it was the right move, and now he's starting to look the business at White Hart Lane, amid rumours that Man Utd will recall him before the end of the season. We all know how good he is, but it's a shame we couldn't nab him in the summer. I'd be surprised if he leaves Man Utd within the next three years, hopefully to us as an established Premiership force!
Finally... honourable mentions for Folan, who's been my biggest disappointment so far, Duke, who's still second choice keeper despite Warner's arrival, Barmby, who still looks like he has a part to play and still has the intelligence to cope with this level of football, and Doyle, who I'd like to see go on loan in the Championship. He looked fantastic in the playoffs.