Date: 18th April 2011 at 12:28am
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Defender Gareth McAuley comes out top in poll of Vital Ipswich readers

Ipswich Town defender Gareth McAuley has been voted as Vital Ipswich’s Player of the Season for 2010/11 in our latest site poll.

With the club’s official Player Awards Evening taking place at the end of the month, Vital Ipswich have been asking our readers to vote for our very own Player of the Season. Nine players from all areas of the pitch were nominated for our unofficial prize, with votes having been collected for the past week.

The Nominees:

Marton Fulop (Goalkeeper) – Joined from Sunderland in the summer and until recently had firmly established himself as the number one keeper at Ipswich. Memorable moments included a man-of-the-match display against Cardiff City in February as well as playing a major part in the Blues keeping a clean sheet for over 150 minutes of football throughout their two-legged Carling Cup tie against Arsenal.

Gareth McAuley (Defence) – The Northern Irish international defender has been one of the most consistently impressive performers in the Ipswich team throughout this season and beyond. McAuley has been a rock in defence and has frustrated a whole host of teams looking to break through the Town backline this season, as well as chipping in with 3 goals in all competitions.

Damien Delaney (Defence) – Not to be outdone by his fellow centre-back, Delaney has established an excellent partnership with McAuley at the heart of the Ipswich defence and has also matched the Northern Irishman’s goal tally for the season; enough to impress Giovanni Trappatoni to give him a cap for the Republic of Ireland for the first time since 2008.

Carlos Edwards (Defence/Midfield) – The leading assister at Ipswich this season having set up 7 goals for his team-mates. Starring in midfield and filling in at right-back, Edwards has made excellent progress after a quiet first season at Portman Road and having featured in all but three of Town’s 50 matches this season, the Trinidadian has been a major part of the team this year.

Jimmy Bullard (Midfield) – It says much for the impact that the on-loan Hull City man has made that he can be considered for this award despite only being at Portman Road since January. Bullard’s quality and infectious personality have been a huge boost to Ipswich under new manager Paul Jewell, providing a constant dead ball threat as well as scoring 4 goals for the Blues – all absolute screamers.

David Norris (Midfield) – Tasked with taking over from departed skipper and top scorer Jon Walters back in August, Norris has taken up both challenges with applomb. The Ipswich captain has led by example with some fine performances as well as becoming the Blues’ leading scorer to date with 10 in all competitions, including the winning goals to haul Town through the first two rounds of their astonishing Carling Cup run.

Tamas Priskin (Attack) – He might not be with the Blues right now, but Priskin has played his part in making this a memorable season for Ipswich. Four goals in the league were outshone by three vital strikes in the Carling Cup, the Hungarian international claiming key goals against Millwall and Northampton Town as well as that unforgettable winner in the 1-0 victory over Arsenal at Portman Road in January.

Jason Scotland (Attack) – Arriving at Portman Road in late August, the experienced frontman quickly started finding the net for Ipswich with 4 goals in his first 8 league appearances. The former Wigan Athletic and Swansea City man is still the Blues’ leading goalscorer in the Championship with 9 league goals this campaign.

Connor Wickham (Attack) – Eyed up by just about every big Premier League club you could care to mention, England U21 international Wickham overcame an injury setback earlier in the season and has flourished under Jewell with 8 goals since January, including his first professional hat-trick against Doncaster Rovers in February. He was also named Championship Apprentice and Football League Young Player of the Year before his 18th birthday.

So those were the nominees – and here are the final results:

1st – Gareth McAuley (44%)
2nd – Connor Wickham (18%)
3rd – Jimmy Bullard, David Norris (11%)
4th – Marton Fulop (10%)
5th – Tamas Priskin, Jason Scotland (3%)
6th – Damien Delaney, Carlos Edwards (0%)

It’s an absolute runaway victory for McAuley, and no surprise either. The former Leicester City defender has become one of the most popular players at Portman Road since moving from the Walkers Stadium in 2008, and having won the official Supporters’ Player of the Year award for 2009/10, McAuley is the firm favourite to claim the prize for the second year in a row. Second place fell to Wickham after another impressive year for the teenager in which he has continued his footballing development, with top-scoring skipper Norris and star loanee Bullard tying for third. Three of those four could be set to leave Portman Road in the summer, so here’s keeping our fingers crossed that Jewell can secure some contract signatures very soon!

Voting for the official Supporters’ Player of the Year Award will take place on the Ipswich Town Supporters Club Website until Friday 29 April and around the stadium at Portman Road on Saturday 30 April. Please see for more information.

This week’s poll: ‘Ipswich v Norwich on 21 April: what is your prediction?’ (See right-hand column to place your vote)

Click here to suggest your own poll for the site!

Who did you vote for in our Player of the Season poll, and why did you choose them? Does McAuley deserve the accolade, and do you think he will go on to win the official Player of the Year prize for a second successive season? Share your views using the comment box below.

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