Player of the year..

In a transparent attempt to get away from the leaders’ ‘debate’ (for debate, read ‘childish bickering’), and a prompting from a comment on another piece – it’s about time we had a ponder about the player of the season award, isn’t it?  We’ve had a season which has certainly far exceeded my expectations, and that brings with it a certain dilemma.

You see, we have a fair few candidates this season for player of the year, don’t we?  I’m sure in my ponderings-without-preparation will result in me missing out some deserving candidates, which you are welcome to add in via comments.  The best way I can think about it is by going through who I consider the viable candidates.

Lee Camp – despite not being one of the fans that singled out Paul Smith, it’s undeniable that our defence has looked to be on a much surer footing with Camp behind them, and when they have faltered he’s invariably there as our final defence, and vice-Captain to boot.

Chris Gunter – I think I’m right in saying that until Blackpool away he was our only ever-present, he’s slotted in to his right back (and occasional left-back cameos) with a maturity that belies his years.  As well as his defensive duties he provides an outlet going forward.

Wes Morgan – every season he seems to get written off by sections of fans, but he’s been an absolute rock this season putting himself bodily on the line again and again to try to keep our miserly goals-conceded column where it is.  He scored an absolute pile-driver against Palace too!

Kelvin Wilson – I was convinced we needed a new centreback to partner Wes this season, and Kelv has shoved that view right down my proverbial.  He’s been a revelation this season along with Wes in the centre of defence, cutting out that ‘laziness’ we’ve seen before and proving he’s capable at this level.

Paul McKenna – things just slotted together with the skipper in midfield, and I’m not surprised – away at least – things have started to slide without him.  Arguably they did so before his injury, as he looked jaded.  Ball winner, experienced head and captain.  He’s been a real loss through injury.`

Radoslaw Majewski – Raddy has shown glimpses of absolute genius, but has also showed he’s inexperienced and can sometimes ‘go missing’ during games.  But when he’s there, by gosh we can see it – Derby at home, West Brom away – you won’t see many better goals than those this season!

Chris Cohen – Chris is our engine, he’s put his tireless enthusiasm into playing out of position for much of the season with good nature and a hard-working ethic.  I still want to see more end product sometimes, but his graft is undeniable, and his commitment to the Reds.

Dexter Blackstock – I like Dex because he works his arse off, he takes a battering from centrebacks often with no protection from the referee – and he chases lost causes.  He’s netted a fair few goals too, which is always a good thing for a striker.  It’s easy to forget how young he is, too. More to come from Dex!

Just missing the cut, but with massively honourable mentions, are the likes of Robert Earnshaw and Paul Anderson.  Indeed, players like Luke Chambers and James Perch who’ve had to be patient to get back in and have performed admirably are deserving of huge credit too – as I started by saying, that it’s been such a fantastic season makes decisions regarding ‘who’s the best’ almost as difficult as I suppose it is fairly facile.

It is a team game after all, and it is our prowess – on our day – in playing for one another as a team, which is one of the reasons I struggle with picking a single one.  But for what it’s worth, the player of the season for 2009/2010 is – and it wasn’t an easy call – Wes Morgan.  I’ve been so impressed with Wes’s consistency and commitment this season, so big congratulations to Wes, and indeed, the whole squad.

What about you?  Have I missed anybody out?  Who would you choose for your player of the year?  You can either make use of the comment facility or vote in the attached poll.

Forest vs. Plymouth Argyle preview..

Ah, last home game of the season – hopefully the feel of close-season can be quelled to drive three points to finish an excellent season of results at the City Ground.  Our visitors come in the knowledge they’re already down, sadly failing their fight against the drop last weekend – so in many ways it will be pressure off them, and all eyes on the Reds to get the point they need to secure a third or fourth placed finish.

An unfamiliar line-up was selected to face Blackpool in our last outing, with Billy keen to give a bit of match-day experience to some of the fringe players.  Whether he opts for a similar stance or whether he decides to redeploy the likes of Gunter, Blackstock, Earnshaw and Majewski remains to be seen – whilst I wouldn’t like to risk injury to anyone, I’d hope for a more ‘established’ starting eleven.

On the injury front it’s just the skipper and Bennett we’re missing, so we do have a full choice from our squad.  Given his promising game at Blackpool it might be tempting for the gaffer to stick with Lynch at left back regardless of whether he wants a more ‘first team’ line up or not.  Aside from that Billy will have a better view of who is jaded and may need a rest or who may be nursing a slight or potential injury.

As for the visitors, no injury worries – but they might well opt for an unfamiliar team selection just to freshen things up now there’s nothing to lose.  Two former-Reds (albeit as loanees) could be involved in the shape of Carl Fletcher and Damien Johnson.  Regardless of their inevitable fate this season, they’ll be keen to finish their travels on a high and get a result against us.  Plymouth have also confirmed they’re parting company with former-manager Paul Sturrock today.

All in all, the Reds should have enough in the tank to get a win I would’ve thought – but can’t take Plymouth for granted.  The usual plea for no pitch invasions has been issued by the manager which – combined with the mighty red-and-white tape – is likely to not be heeded, and then we’ll end up getting the ‘walk around’ anyway once the fans have been cleared.  It’s irrelevant to me as an Upper Tier dweller regardless!

The only other thing that remains is not Forest related at all (although does involve one of our fans quite extensively!) and that’s to wish Carl Froch all the very best in his Boxing match against Mikkel Kessler.  Having overcome the lack of ability to fly in Europe, ‘The Cobra’ managed to get over to Denmark, and will face the Dane on Saturday night.  I for one will be cheering him on!