This time last year a collection of the best talent in League One and Two included names such as Jordan Rhodes, Ryan Hall and Michael Jacobs; all of whom have moved on to, for want of a better word, bigger clubs.
But which five are good enough to make the jump this January?
Harry Maguire - Sheffield United
The Sheffield United centre-back does occasionally divide opinion among fans at Bramall Lane this season as many debate whether the time is right to sell the player on and use the profits to benefit a promotion push but there is little doubting he is full of potential.
He made his debut in 2011 and since then he has come on leaps and bounds. An imposing physical presence for one so young is rare and his aerial ability belies his age.
The Blades named him both the ‘Young Player of the Season’ and ‘Player of the Season’ last season and he made the PFA League One Team of the Year for 2012.
He made his international debut for England under-21s in November and there is genuine hope he could one day make that a full cap.
Stephen Darby - Bradford City
As Bradford City have made their way to the Carling Cup final many of their players are being touted as too good for the fourth tier of English football. While there is certainly a case for other Bantams players for me the energetic full-back Darby is the brightest prospect in the squad.
Previously with Liverpool he was once dubbed ‘Mr Consistency’ by the late Gary Ablett when he coached him for Liverpool Reserves and he also made three Champions League appearances for the club before his release this summer.
At just 24-years-old he certainly has the ability to play at a higher level.
Luke Murphy - Crewe Alexandra
The latest talent to roll off the conveyor belt of at Crewe Alexandra Murphy was first tipped for Premier League stardom as a teenager.
Now he seems ready to follow Nick Powell to the Premier League as Aston Villa and Stoke are reportedly chasing the 23-year-old.
Even at a young age he is already approaching 200 professional appearances and his composed style of midfield play is perfectly suited for a higher standard.
Jose Baxter - Oldham Athletic
His manager Paul Dickov is in no doubt that he could one day make it back to the Premier League and judging by his current form you can understand why.
Once dubbed ‘the next Wayne Rooney’ after obliterating goal-scoring records with the Everton youth team he struggled to come to terms with early fame and was released this summer.
But at Boundary Park he has got himself into shape and looks to be galvanising his innate talent once again.
Harry Arter - Bournemouth
The brother-in-law of Tottenham and England midfielder Scott Parker you would be hard pushed not to think that link was genetic considering the similarities in playing styles.
He has worked his way back up the football league via Woking since being released by Charlton and is now a regular in Eddie Howe’s in-form Bournemouth side.
Stephen Gleeson, James Wallace, Alan Judge, Marc Pugh, Marlon Pack, Damon Lathrope, Luke James, Matt Ritchie and many more talented football league players also deserve a mention…
… but who would be in your top five?
image: © joncandy