It is that time of season where clubs and their players get recognised for what they have done throughout the season. The Championship, League One and League Two PFA team of the seasons were announced last week, but there isn’t space for everyone.
Here are players from each of the three Football League divisions who didn’t quite get the votes from their fellow professionals to make it into their respective teams of the year but are certainly worthy of a place.
Fernando Forestieri – Sheffield Wednesday
The Italian joined The Owls from Watford in the summer window as Carlos Carvalhal looked to build a side to battle at the top end of the Championship. It was quite a statement from Wednesday to bring someone in who wasn’t going to be cheap, but they took the gamble and it has certainly paid off.
Forestieri has certainly gone some way in showing that he was worth the gamble, as he has hit 15 goals and provided 6 assists in his 35 league appearances this season. Consequently, a top six spot is all but secured for Wednesday as they look ahead to the drama of the play-offs where the dream of returning to the Premier League could still turn into reality.
There is no doubt that the Italian has been a crucial cog in the Wednesday machine, both when asked to play out wide, as well as through the middle. No matter where he has been positioned, the goals and assists have kept on coming and he is currently the club’s top scorer this season.
He stands out like a sore thumb in the Championship due to his sheer quality on the ball, as well as his vision and end product. Crucial goals and assists in tight games against the likes of Hull, Birmingham, Cardiff, Huddersfield and Nottingham Forest have been the difference and with someone like Forestieri in your team, you know that you can rely on him when needed.
Perhaps his only downfall, though, is his discipline. He has two red cards to his name this season and both have included yellow cards for simulation. That is what he is now known for when he comes to play at other grounds – referees will take a second look at him when he goes down.
His reputation might be slightly tarnished as a result, but no one can deny him of the great campaign he has had. He has been consistent and contributed throughout, so is very unlucky not to be in the Championship Team of the Season.
Without him, Sheffield Wednesday might well be looking at a finish in the mid-ranges of the second division, rather than reaching the play-offs stages, with the Premier League still in sight.
Sam Winnall – Barnsley
After struggling to make the grade in the first team at Wolverhampton Wanderers, Sam Winnall has wasted no time in making an impact in League One for Barnsley.
His 19 goals and six assists this season have been a major factor in helping the club lift themselves off the bottom of the table at Christmas time to now occupying a play-off spot.
In fact, he scored 10 goals in seven games at the turn of the New Year to really get their season back on track and they haven’t looked back since.
He had been the subject of a bid from Leeds United in the January transfer window, which was rejected, so there could be bigger and better things in the pipeline for Winnall.
The Tykes and Winnall can also boast winning a piece of silverware this season, the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, where they beat Oxford 3-2 in the final at Wembley.
The two strikers in League One’s Team of the Season are Wigan’s Will Grigg and Coventry’s Adam Armstrong. You can’t really argue with Griggs’s inclusion as he is the leagues top goalscorer and is leading Wigan to the title.
However, perhaps Winnall could have a case for challenging Armstrong for his spot in the team. They have both scored 19 goals, but the Barnsley man has two more assists than the on-loan Newcastle striker.
Armstrong started the season on fire, but hasn’t scored in his last 11 games as the Sky Blues have really fallen off the pace when, at one point, it looked like they would get at least a play-off place.
But, in reality, I suppose 19 goals in a season for a 19-year-old can’t be questioned and it must’ve been a tight vote between the two for a striker spot in Team of the Year.
Billy Kee – Accrington Stanley
Kee joined Stanley on an initial 12 month contract in the summer, following a frustrating short spell with Scunthorpe United.
He has had an outstanding season so far, scoring 17 goals and contributing 14 assists, and it could get even better for the striker as the club currently occupy 2nd place in League Two and are looking good for automatic promotion.
He had some huge competition for the striking places in League Two’s Team of the Season, as the bar was set very high by the two that eventually made it, Leyton Orient’s Jay Simpson and Bristol Rovers’ Matty Taylor.
But, what can be admired most about Kee is his impressive goal tally as well as the amount of goals he provides for others as well.
He is one of the main reasons Stanley are where they are and I am sure there will be a few clubs making phone calls asking to see if Billy Kee is available for transfer this summer.
A club like Accrington Stanley need someone to step up when they are needed and Kee is certainly that man.
With Wycombe and Stevenage their final opponents this season, I wouldn’t back against Kee being the man to secure promotion to League One for them.