NEXT Saturday marks the end of another campaign for Worcester City.
It will also see the much-coveted player-of-the-season award handed out at Sixways after the home Skrill North match against Boston United.
Following a Jekyll and Hyde 2013-14 for Carl Heeley’s side, in which the second-half of the season has been significantly better than the first, there are a few players in contention.
In my opinion, there is not a stand-out candidate for the top prize, and it is possible to make a case for a number of Heeley’s squad.
For me, Daniel Nti, George Williams, Graham Hutchison, Ellis Deeney and Jose Veiga should all be considered for a variety of reasons.
Nti has scored 15 goals in his first season since jumping three rungs up the non-league ladder from Loughborough University. He has courted glances from a number of higher-ranked suitors.
Likewise, right-back Williams, another who left Loughborough last summer, has adapted to the rigours of Conference North with ease.
His able defending combined with lung-busting over-lapping runs down the wing have been a trademark of the 21-year-old’s play.
Deeney has featured in every match apart from the Worcestershire FA Senior Cup semi-final and has transformed his game.
The former Aston Villa youth team captain began the campaign at left-back but was switched to central midfield following Tom Thorley’s departure to Hednesford.
Such a move is not easy to make but Deeney has found his feet and, by and large, has not looked out of place, also winning rave reviews from Heeley and opponents alike.
Keeper Veiga has been superb since arriving from Tamworth in August, producing a series of fine displays to keep City in matches in the early part of the term.
The 37-year-old also settled the nerves of the relatively inexperienced defenders in front of him and they have made huge strides even though the Portuguese has not played since the end of February due to injury.
Which leads me on to Hutchison, who has been at the heart of Worcester’s defence for 41 of the 48 games so far this season and is my choice for the top award.
During that time, he has been paired with no fewer than eight centre-halves and yet his performance levels have seldom suffered.
He might not win many man-of-the-match awards but that doesn’t make the former Birmingham City man’s impact any less.
Of the 18 clean sheets City have kept, the 21-year-old Scot has been present for all but one. Three of them came when he filled in for the injured Williams at right-back.
Hutchison missed six games in December and January and Worcester conceded in five of them. Although he has not been the sole reason for City’s stubborness, he has been a major factor.
That has underpinned City’s survival and for that reason he gets my vote.