I will put it out there right now, I’ve never been a fan of Gary Madine. But there can be no denying that he has had a huge impact on Bolton Wanderers’ season and without him we would not be in the top two with the League One title a genuine possibility. Love him or hate him the bottom line is he has been key to our season.
I was told the other day, though have no idea if it is actually true and I have no intention of checking, that Bolton have not won a single game this season which Madine has missed. That is the kind of impact a player of the year contender needs to make in a season which has been such a success.
He is of course far from the only player who has been vital to the incredible turn around Bolton have enjoyed on the pitch this season. The likes of Mark Beevers, David Wheater, Filipe Morais, Andrew Taylor and Sammy Ameobi amongst many others have had a huge impact on part or all of our season. So it goes without saying picking one over the others is hard.
He may not have had the impact in front of goal which we want from a striker but his all round play has been vital for the way Phil Parkinson sets up his team. Its rather like the good old days, a big man up front with other grabbing the goals around him. Albeit the cut price League One version.
In that regard his case is helped, a lot, by the lack of quality of his understudies Jamie Proctor and Conor Wilkinson. Yes that shouldn’t count in favour of a player of the year nominee, but it does further underline his importance to the team and the fact that we would not be where we are without him.