2011/12 Season Review: Defenders
2. Lee Hodson: It`s been a good season for the young Northern Ireland international. Whilst he only made 20 league starts, the 'where`s Lee Hodson?` campaign on Twitter suggests that the full-back is very popular at the Vic.
Hodson was of course dropped at West Ham to bring in the more aggressive Carl Dickinson, and off the back of that point, Lloyd Doyley and Dickinson were the preferred full back pairing.
Hodson is for me, an excellent player. Though I feel he wasn`t as potent going forward this season, he has improved his defensive showing though some questions still remain. The key thing is that he is still young.7/10chrisgwfc: 7/10 - A solid season for Hodson as he continues to build his reputation. Had to wait until late October for his chance but good performances kept a fit again Doyley out of the team and played a stretch of 21 games before being rested again. Better going forward but still accomplished at the defensive side of his game.
3. Carl Dickinson: Hands up, I got sucked in by the fist-pumping, chest-thumping passion of Carl Dickinson. A real left back at number three who was all ours, I got a bit excited and was quick to shoe-horn him into the Robbo role. Robbo he is not, because whilst the passion is evident, footballing ability does actually count for something in the grand scheme of things.
When Dickinson plays well, he plays well. He sticks manfully to a task, tackles aggressively and is never beaten for determination. However, when he`s playing badly he can be a bit of a liability. Defensive lapses have hindered an otherwise decent debut season at the Vic`.6/10chrisgwfc: 7/10 - On the whole a solid season from our new left back. Performed very well against tricky wingers from Leeds, Blackpool and Brighton but equally prone to the odd individual error. Does concede many needless free kicks in the middle third.
5. Martin Taylor: A frustrating season for Tiny Taylor who spent a good few months on the treatment table following a broken collarbone, then cruelly, a broken toe suffered on his comeback in a development match.
Taylor is still, rightly, valued highly by the coaching staff as is suggested by the offer a new contract. The form of the Geordie centre-back offers a genuine dilemma next season assuming Aidy Mariappa is still about. Taylor is capable of playing with either Nyron Nosworthy or Mariappa, offering three genuinely excellent centre-back options. But for a injury, a faultless campaign.6/10chrisgwfc: 6/10 - A season blighted by 6 months out in the middle of the season but has stepped back into the fold like he has never been away. His experience in our team is a valuable asset.
6. Adrian Mariappa: Rightly crowned double player of the season, (as well as scooping the training ground table tennis gong!), Mariappa has mature in the past couple of seasons from being a highly rated young full-back to a genuinely top-class Championship centre half.
Premier League interest was richly deserved and surely we can expected interest in our prized asset this summer. Mariappa can definitely cut it in the Premier League and of course, did exactly that as a very young man in the 2006/07 season.
Formed an excellent partnership with Nosworthy and it is now a case of Mariappa plus one at the heart of the defence.10/10chrisgwfc: Mariappa, 9/10 - The outstanding player this season; turned in a good performance every week and looks every inch like he could hack it in the Premier League. Pace, a good reading of the game, good arial ability and good on the ball.
12. Lloyd Doyley:Celebrated his 10th year at the club by doing as he does best, providing unspectacular solidity wherever he has been deployed.
The Doyley debate will run and run until he finally retires (at Watford); do you place higher value on technique or unbreakable determination, defensive reliability and commitment? Take your pick.7/10chrisgwfc: 7/10 - A good season for the Watford stalwart. Shifted around between right and left back but is defensively as good as anyone in our side. Good at the back post for not a big man.
17. Dale Bennett: A quiet season for the centre-back who made just one start in the league and a further substitute appearance. A loan spell at Brentford will have done the youngster the world of good, regular football at this stage is of course crucial to his further development. Ultimately though, Bennett`s future is dependent on that of David Mirfin.Too few games to mark.chrisgwfc: 5/10 - Never really had enough game time to make an impact this season, but gave a promising hour at West Ham before going off injured.
21. David Mirfin: Seemed like a sensible signing in the summer with Taylor getting on and Bennett youthful, but in truth, it hasn`t worked out. The former Scunthorpe and Huddersfield man has never looked like coping with Championship football and is wanted back by Scunny. Such was his inability to cope with this divison, Sean Dyche went out to recruit Nosworthy on loan.
With three quality centre halves blocking his route to the first team, turning his loan spell into a permanent move looks likely after a poor season.4/10chrisgwfc: 4/10 - Never looked like getting to grip with Championship forward. A poor man`s Martin Taylor, we always seemed to ship goals whenever he lined up in our back four.
31. Tom James: We all wanted him to work out in a nostalgic ode to Scott Fitzgerald and Jay DeMerit. Sadly it didn`t and James will be off this summer. However, clearly he is better than the level he was playing at beforehand with Dyche risking him for a handful of minutes against Bradford City in the FA Cup. Nothing ventured, nothing lost. Good luck in the future TJ.Too few games to mark.
33. Nyron Nosworthy: Impeccable on loan and excellent since signing permanently. An older, meatier version of Mariappa; capable of doing battle either aerially or on the deck and has also proven very capable of partnering either Mariappa or Taylor.
A few errors did creep in after turning his loan spell into a permanent move but ultimately very impressive and fits in perfectly with Dyche`s experienced Championship performer ethos.8/10chrisgwfc: 8/10 - Perhaps Sean Dyche's best signing this season. Made a real difference to our defence with his partnership alongside Mariappa and provided a backbone to our team.