April 22, 2015 by bluenosebible
By Luke Turner
Player of the season- CLAYTON DONALDSON: ‘The Don’ had an excellent pre-season, scoring numerous times in run up to his first season at St. Andrews. However, as the season began the ex-Brentford striker didn’t seem to show his pre-season form and struggled in games. Playing him up front with Wes Thomas was what the fans wanted but ultimately it didn’t work for Lee Clark. Since Gary Rowett has came in Donaldson has started near enough every game up front as a lone striker. All of his attributes allow him to play this role so effectively. His pace, strength, ability to hold the ball up and his finishing (most of the time) has seen the 31-year-old become a crucial part of the team. At present he is the clubs top scorer this season with 15 in all competitions which is an impressive total for a man who is playing his first season of Championship football. The striker’s tireless work rate is what the fans and I respect the most. He never fails to give 100% and, in some ways, I wish we had Clayton when he was a lot younger. But, he still has a lot to give and I am sure that he will play a big part next season.
Goal of the season- DAVID COTTERILL (v Nottingham Forest Forest at home): Most of the contenders for goal of the season came from the Welshman so it is no surprise that I have chosen one of his goals as the best this season. His stunning left footed strike which rattled off the bar and went in against Nottingham Forest on Trevor Francis Day back in November set Blues on their way to a 2-1 victory. Cotterill has weighed in with an impressive nine goals from midfield this season as well as eight assists which I personally didn’t expect from him. At times he has been frustrating to watch but some of his goals have earned us some valuable points so I don’t think we can grumble too much. We all groan when he doesn’t stick his foot in for a 50/50 challenge but he deserves some plaudits for his sensational strike against Forest.
Moment of the season at St Andrews- ROWETT RETURNS (home fixture v Watford): This was a no brainer for me. Perhaps the match that changed our season and maybe even saved it. A 2-1 win against Watford in Gary Rowett’s first home game as manager set the side on their way to an impressive run which revived our season. On a cold Tuesday night 18,000 Blues fans roared the team and the new manager on to an impressive three points. The previous home game was one to forget, let’s be honest. So, it was important that Gary got off to the perfect start in front of the home faithful. An 85th minute winner from Clayton Donaldson against the league leaders gave us fans a night to cherish.
Most influential player- MICHAEL MORRISON: When Gary Rowett was appointed manager in late October, his first move was to sure up the defence by bringing in Charlton defender Michael Morrison. He was drafted straight into the team away at Wolves and helped Blues to register their first clean sheet since mid-August in a goalless draw at Molineux. The team then went on to concede just 4 goals in the following 7 games. Morrison’s no nonsense defending and leadership skills were a big factor in the teams transformation. In January, Morrison signed permanently with Blues which, to be honest, I was shocked about due to our financial constraints. Morro is a top defender and I still, to this day, question why Charlton let him go. When Morrison got injured in January, the team began to concede more goals again and weren’t as solid. They went on an eight game winless run without him in the side. His presence, when in the team, shouldn’t be underestimated and we should be thankful that we have a very capable centre half who we can rely on.
Unsung hero- JONATHAN GROUNDS: When Lee Clark signed Grounds from Oldham last summer I did raise an eyebrow but what more did we expect. Our tight budget meant he had to go into the lower leagues and grab what was available. The left-back did have a rocky start to the season. He didn’t seem to have any sense of positioning and he was beaten far too easily. I regarded him as the ‘weak link’ in our side. But, as the season has gone on, he has improved massively which is a credit to himself and those working around him. He is a lot more calmer on the ball and his decision making is a lot less rash. There are still moments when his defending is questioned but he is no Ashley Cole and we have to work with what we have got. Overall, Grounds has had a decent season and certainly benefited from the guidance of Gary Rowett.
Young player of the season- DEMARAI GRAY: This has been Demarai’s breakthrough season and he has impressed on numerous occasions. The winger has played a lot of football this season and perhaps his form in the months following Bournemouth’s £5 million transfer offer for him has depleted as a result of this. However, he is still the same pacy, tricky winger who leaves fans on the edge of their seats. Gray can be predictable at times but he is young and still has time to learn. He has scored six goals this season including an impressive first-half hat trick in the 6-1 demolition of Reading in December. His recent two goals in as many games should hopefully give him confidence to express himself for the remainder of the season. His impressive performances in the first-half of the season have maybe increased the expectation levels of fans and there is only so much weight an 18-year-old can hold on his shoulders. The winger is another product of our academy which the club should be proud of and I hope we keep hold of him during the summer.
Do you agree with Luke or would you change the winner of any awards?