Ritchie scoops League Two honour

Swindon's Matt Ritchie with his npower Football League Two Player of the Year Award
Swindon's Matt Ritchie with his npower Football League Two Player of the Year Award
Stuart O'Keefe. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey midfielder will relish facing former club

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Former Pompey starlet Matt Ritchie has been crowned League Two’s player of the year.

The Gosport youngster received the accolade at the Football League Awards 2012.

The honour was in recognition of an outstanding season for the left-sided midfielder.

Ritchie has scored 10 goals in 45 games so far for the League Two leaders.

And he was at the top of the list when managers from the division submitted their five players of the campaign.

The 22-year-old beat off another ex-Pompey player, Marlon Pack, to the title.

Pack, from Buckland, made two substitute appearances for the Blues.

However, he was released in the summer and joined Cheltenham.

Pack and Tyrone Barnett, formerly of Crawley and now on loan at Peterborough United, made up the top three

It caps a tremendous 12 months for Ritchie, who was sold to Swindon in January last year, much to the dismay of many Blues fans.

Pompey received around £250,000 for their home-grown product after Steve Cotterill deemed him surplus to requirements.

It signalled a heart-breaking exit for Ritchie after 10 first-team appearances for his boyhood club.

But he has flourished at the County Ground to emerge as a key figure in Paolo Di Canio’s side.

Ritchie said: ‘It has been a brilliant season for me and it is great to get this award as part of it.

‘Hopefully, it will inspire me to get a few more goals and help us win League Two and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.’

The player of the year for the Championship was won by Southampton’s Rickie Lambert, while the League One award went to Huddersfield’s Jordan Rhodes.

Other notable winners included Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha, who walked away with the Football League Young Player of the Year award.

Brighton boss Gus Poyet picked up the Football Manager Outstanding Managerial Achievement.

And Shrewsbury manager Graham Turner was honoured with the prestigious Contribution to League Football Award.

During his career as a player, manager and chairman, Turner has enjoyed one of the most consistently successful track records in modern football, including five promotions and winning the Football League Trophy in 1988.

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