WE’RE coming to the business end of the season and also the time when the gongs are handed out.
The Star and Green ’Un Football Awards 2012 will hand out a few of its own and honour the region’s top achievers this season at a glittering event later this month.
Whatever success happens on the field this season, there will definitely be winners on the night from all our six local clubs, Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday, Barnsley, Doncaster Rovers, Chesterfield and Rotherham United.
We will have a Player of the Year from each club - with our readers getting a choice as well - and there will be winners in six other categories too.
Our sports writers, who follow the clubs week in, week out, have drawn up their own shortlist for each club and the winners will be announced on the night of the function, Sunday, April 22, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Chesterfield Road, Meadowhead, when managers, players and officials from among our six local clubs will be present.
There will also be a single award for the Young Player of the Year, the candidates for that nominated by our writers who will also select the winner..
Other awards will include Lifetime Achievement, Team of the Year, Golden Boot, Manager of the Year and a Special Award.
There can certainly be no secret as to who will take the Golden Boot Award, which goes to the top scorer from all our six clubs.
Ched Evans has scored more than 30 goals for Sheffield United, a remarkable achievement. With no-one else yet into the 20s, it would need a few hat-tricks from somebody to even get close to him!
Our writers have drawn up their shortlist of candidates from each club for Player of the Year.
At Sheffield United, Evans has to be on any such list because of his remarkable goalscoring prowess.
Neil Collins has been a solid and reassuring presence at the heart of United’s defence and formed a sound partnership with young Harry Maguire.
There are certainly several candidates but the other nomination is Kevin McDonald who has been highly influential in midfield and a player whose passing ability has helped make United ‘tick’.
Over at Sheffield Wednesday, Danny Batth has been reliable and consistent at the heart of the defence.
Jose Semedo has certainly enjoyed an excellent season in midfield, his style of play enabling others to flourish, a real team man.
Gary Madine was dubbed “Goal Machine” by Wednesday fans and he is poised to break through the 20-goal barrier as well as providing a physical presence as focal point of the attack.
The nominations for Barnsley including a player who has made a jump of two divisions.
Craig Davies was in League Two last season but he has adjusted to life in The Championship and started to blossom, bagging 11 goals along the way.
Goalkeeper Luke Steele is having, arguably, his best season for the Reds, turning in some excellent work, although he has been busier than he may have liked at times!
Jim O’Brien, the wide man, endeared himself to Barnsley followers with a series of wholehearted displays packed full of effort and telling delivery from the right wing.
One constant during a season of changing personnel at Doncaster Rovers has been Simon Gillett.
The little midfielder with the terrier-like attributes, has been involved in every league game this season.
Defender George Friend was in excellent form at the back until suffering injury in January whilefans’ favourite James Coppinger has been one of the very few who have played in nearly all the games in this troubled seasons.
Goalkeeper Tommy Lee has again showed his quality at Chesterfield and also his value to the side and it’s fair to say he was missed during an early-season injury spell.
Drew Talbot has been there week in, week out, giving typically wholehearted displays in the Spireites’ cause while Mark Allott has once again been a consistent performer in the middle of the park.
At Rotherham United, defender Johnny Mullins has come back from a serious knee injury which delayed his season’s start to show why he is so highly regarded by the fans.
Top scorer Lewis Grabban, in his first season, has made his mark and is one off the 20-goal mark while Danny Harrison has battled on with typical effort and endeavour in midfield.
So, our Player of the Year at each club will come from the three-man lists noted above and we will be inviting readers to have their say.
Nominations for the Young Player of the Year (21 and under) are Chesterfield’s Jordan Bowery, Wednesday’s Gary Madine and the Blades’ Harry Maguire.
The winners from the remaining categories will be announced on the night.
Readers vote... How you can take part
All you need to do is e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your pick from our Player of the Year shortlist.
Please place ‘Readers Vote’ in the subject field and then give us the name of the player you wish to vote for along with your name and address. You can also vote by post to Reader Choice, Promotions, Sheffield Newspapers, York Street, Sheffield, S1 1PU. Deadline for votes is noon, Wednesday, April 11.
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