Historically, I have had very little time for Darren Pratley. I wrote earlier in the season about the direct correlation between the demise of Bolton Wanderers and how long Darren Pratley has been at the club. And I absolutely, categorically stand by those words.
However, it cannot be denied that he is the only player at the club who has been involved in wins in every single game that he has played this season. Granted, he has been missing for most of it and, when he not only unexpectedly reappeared in the squad in a must win game at Fleetwood but started and captained the side, there were some who wondered if Parky had lost his mind. And I was one of them.
However, facts cannot be denied. Pratley has brought something to the side just when we needed it. His return as captain was mitigated by Jay Spearing being injured but now that Spearing has returned, Pratley has kept the captaincy. And has acquitted hiimself well. He has also pretty much led from the front and has brought something fresh to the team just when it was needed.
Now, don't get me wrong. This is not a Pratley love in. This is just credit where credit is due. He has a 100% record. And he seems to have finally found the right level of football for his talent after five disastrous years. Should he be an automatic pick if we go up? Well, that depends on the size of the squad. But, for now, he is my pick for player of the year. Because who knows, with him in the side, we may just go 100% for the rest of the season.