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TEAMtalk Soccers: FL Player award
Published : 27 May 2009 08:18:27
Burnley captain Alexander started all of the Clarets' 61 games this season, missing just 14 minutes of the campaign when he was substituted late on in one match. Boss Owen Coyle switched the 37-year-old from full-back to a defensive midfield role this season and Alexander has been in inspirational form. He also scored 10 goals as Burnley finished the campaign in fifth spot in the Championship, won the play-off final at Wembley and beat Premier League sides Fulham, Chelsea and Arsenal in the Carling Cup before losing in the semi-final to Tottenham. The semi-final second leg was an epic encounter with Spurs only going though with two late goals in extra-time as the Clarets won 3-2 but lost 6-4 on aggregate. Burnley also beat West Brom in the FA Cup before being knocked out by Arsenal. It has been a superb campaign for the Clarets and such consistency and leadership from Alexander deserves recognition. In second place comes Wolves striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, who netted 25 goals in the Championship as Mick McCarthy's side won the title and promotion to the Premier League. Former Manchester United striker Ebanks-Blake, 23, finished the campaign as top scorer in the Championship for the second successive season, after winning the Golden Boot in the 2007-08 season with 23 goals in total for Plymouth Argyle and Wolves (Ebanks-Blake joined Wolves in January 2008). Another striker takes third place in our nominations. Leeds hitman Jermaine Beckford, now on the transfer list at Elland Road, had a superb season, netting 27 goals in League One and 34 in total to land the Golden Boot for the division. Beckford's goals fired the Whites to fourth spot in the table, before Simon Grayson's side lost 2-1 on aggregate to Millwall in the play-off semi-finals. Although Beckford missed a crucial penalty in the second leg clash against Millwall at Elland Road, without his goals United would not have reached the play-offs in the first place and his goal haul has landed him a spot in the top five. Hot on Beckford's heels is Leicester City forward Matty Fryatt, who hit 27 goals (32 in total) for the Foxes as they won the League One title and returned to the Championship at the first attempt following their relegation last year. Nigel Pearson's side finished the season on 96 points, seven clear of second-placed Peterbrough United, with Fryatt's goals the catalyst to a successful campaign. The former Walsall striker made 49 appearances in total for the Foxes, starting all 46 league matches, and signed a new contract in December to end speculation about his future. Last but not least we have Swindon Town hitman Simon Cox, who scored 29 goals in League One (32 in total) and his goals proved crucial as the Robins beat the drop and finished 15th in the table. The 22-year-old forward joined Swindon from Reading on a permanent deal in January 2008 after a successful loan spell at the County Ground. Cox's goals have brought him to the attention of bigger clubs with the likes of Bolton, Celtic, West Brom and Leicester linked with the striker, whose stock is even higher after his nomination in our TEAMtalk Soccers ceremony.