BURNLEY boss Sean Dyche says he has never known a season – during or since playing – when it has been so hard to single out one player of the year.
Sam Vokes was the overall winner at the supporters’ clubs’ awards night, scooping five of the individual club awards and sharing one with Danny Ings.
The rest were shared between top scorer Ings, goalkeeper Tom Heaton, Scott Arfield, Kieran Trippier and captain Jason Shackell with two.
And Dyche believes it is a reflection of how much of a team effort it has been in the Clarets earning promotion.
“Certainly in my career playing as coach/ assistant manager, manager, this group is very difficult to single out a player of the year. You could go through virtually every player at some stage of the season and think ‘what a season they’ve had’,” said the Clarets boss.
“It’s a real tough one. I could name the whole team.
“There are some who don’t catch the eye as much as Ingsy or Vokesy, and Barnesy (Ashley Barnes) coming in and scoring a couple of goals and Kights (Michael Kightly) with great goals.
“But they are invaluable to the team, the people at the back and in midfield who don’t always get the accolades.
“Goal of the season could be interesting – it will take about three hours because there have been so many good goals all the way through the season.
“The first one against Wigan was a tremendous goal.
“Score one like that in the Premier League and it will get shown a thousand times. Our goal got shown maybe eight. Hopefully that will change next season!
“That goal would be shown endlessly if it was Liverpool or Arsenal or whatever. Let’s hope we score some like that next year and it’s Burnley that everyone’s showing.”
But as for the player of the year category, Dyche continued it was a hard one to call.
“This year’s really tough - different players for different reasons,” he continued.
“There have been magic moments, consistency, great performances, team performances, people have been under the radar, people have done the unnoticed work well.
“Eventually all those things make a real team and that’s certainly what this group has been - it’s been a real team.”
Recognition was given to all the players with a team award at the end of Tuesday’s even, when a specially commissioned vase was handed over to Dyche, his staff and players.
But Vokes said being named the overall individual winner was a timely boost for Vokes in the early part of his long road to recovery from cruciate ligament damage.
“It’s great for him to get those rewards,” said Dyche.
“He’s had a real knock but he knows he’s played his part, the fans know he’s played his part, we certainly do as staff. He’s been terrific.
“He’s had a knock but he’ll bounce back. He’s in good spirits.”
So too are Burnley as they prepare to round off a remarkable season at Reading this lunchtime (kick-off 12.15pm), where the onus is on the Royals as they play for the final play-off place.
“The main thing to me is we’ve taken care of our own share of what we had to do and we’ve done it in a style and a fashion that has been superb,” said the Clarets boss, whose side’s destiny was decided two games ago after Easter wins over Blackpool and Wigan.
“I think people looking at the last few games thinking Blackpool was an awkward one for different reasons and of course Wigan and Ipswich and Reading, and it’s quite obvious to see that the players have dealt with that and delivered fantastic performances so far.”
He is asking for one more from his side as they seek to end the season with 95 points, having already broken the club record with last weekend’s win at home to Ipswich.
“We’ll be going into this with real confidence, great energy in the team, they’ve trained fantastically well, and shoulders back ready to go.”