KEANE, Davids, Makelele, Deschamps, Bullard. Spot the odd one out.

When discussing the best defensive midfielders of all time, or even the best in this season's Championship, the name Jimmy Bullard might seem an odd one to throw in the mix.

The player himself is still getting used to his role at the base of Paul Jewell''s diamond midfield, jokingly admitting yesterday that his goal threat had diminished because he never got close enough to have a shot.

But Bullard's performances against Coventry and Middlesbrough are prove that playing the holding role can have its advantages from an attacking sense.

Yes, you are the one likely to sit and try and break up play. But you can also dictate the pace and pattern of a game.

You are the player who can pick up the ball from a central defender, a full-back or even David Stockdale in goal and start Town ticking as an attacking force.

Because opposition midfielders are more likely to retreat into their own defensive formation, Bullard is more likely to find space in a withdrawn role than say Grant Leadbitter at the peak or Keith Andrews tucking in.

And with the ball at his feet, Bullard is at his most deadly. He can spray passes to the eager Aaron Cresswell or Carlos Edwards on the wings just as comfortably as his intricate triangles with Leadbitter and Lee Bowyer.

His tackling has never been his biggest strength but there are real signs that he is fast approaching match fitness which means he is covering a lot more ground than in his first match against Leeds, when the second half sub admitted he felt "terrible" at the end.

While most fans still hanker after a proper defensive midfielder - with young Luke Hyam and veteran Mark Kennedy remaining spectators on the sidelines - Bullard might strangely be the best Town have got.

And he should get another chance to prove his worth in the position when the East End boy goes back to his roots for tonight's match against West Ham.

It might take Bullard a while before he can get on a You Tube list like below, but a water carrier he is certainly not.