by Wycombe Wanderers midfielder Marcus Bean
AWARDS season is on the horizon and the PFA voting cards arrived at the training ground this week – Ricky Holmes was one of the first names I put down in my League Two team of the year.
He has been Northampton’s stand-out player, not just for his goals – like the wonder goal against Leyton Orient which pretty much summed up his season – but also for his endeavour, constantly probing and trying to create opportunities for others.
Holmes’ name was closely followed by John-Joe O’Toole, who is the toughest opponent that I’ve faced in the middle of the park this season. He has been key to their success, dictating play and chipping in with an impressive 11 goals.
We can’t talk about League Two without mentioning Oxford United’s Kemar Roofe. He’s a player who me and some of my former Colchester team-mates have a giggle about as the one that got away. We still can’t believe that he didn’t get more game time when he was on loan there. He looked sharp in training but come Saturday was always overlooked.
It’s no surprise to me to see him doing so well. What impresses me is the variety of goals he scores – free-kicks, poacher’s goals and spectacular long-range strikes. He’s a humble guy, keen to learn and, with this mentality and ability, I expect clubs to be queuing up for his signature in the summer.
We have the second-best defensive record in the league and if I could vote for team-mates, defenders Aaron Pierre and Jason McCarthy would definitely be in my team. Both are young with a lot to learn but I have been impressed with how quickly they have developed. Pierre is a man-mountain possessing strength, power and speed.
Jason reads the game expertly, is composed in possession and has great organisation skills that belie his age. They complement each other perfectly and have played a key role in our success.
Runaway leaders Northampton could probably play in their holiday flip-flops and still seal the League Two title.
The transformation from mid-table mediocrity to champions-elect has been remarkable and manager Chris Wilder must take a lot of the credit.
I don’t believe their success has been a reflection on the quality of the other teams in the league. It remains such a difficult league to escape from, and it just goes to show how good Northampton have been.