The Ipswich Town Oscars: Who will win leading male, best newcomer, biggest villain and best hair?
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After Hollywood’s finest celebrated a year of film at last night’s Oscars, sports writer ANDY WARREN hands out a host of prizes to members of the Ipswich Town squad.
Bartosz Bialkowski is threatening to dominate this category, having won player of the year awards in each of the last two seasons. But right now the Pole is leading the running for a third, having been at his consistent best again during the 2017/18 campaign.
The likes of Bersant Celina, Martyn Waghorn and Joe Garner have all impressed, but none have helped Ipswich as consistently as the Polish goalkeeper who could yet make his country’s World Cup squad.
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This award goes to Zoe Cossey due to her consistent displays for the Ipswich Town Ladies.
When she’s on form she offers such a potent threat down the left and is the main source of creativity. Even when she’s not at her best still delivers and has scored a number of impressive strikes, while scoring a hat-trick against Norwich in October.
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Best supporting role
This award is handed out to a player who has performed consistently well without grabbing the headlines or getting the recognition he perhaps deserves.
Sure, he wears the armband, fist-pumps at the crowd after wins and nearly stole the show against Norwich, but Luke Chambers’ ultra-consistent displays this season have sometimes gone unnoticed.
He’s been strong in the air, an organisational presence and a true leader.
Watching back through the highlights videos, there have been some bad, bad games involving Ipswich Town this season. But there have also been some stunners.
There were dramatic wins at Millwall and Burton, the comfortable 4-2 victory over Nottingham Forest and a pulsating back-and-forth at Leeds. But the winner is arguably the Blues’ most incisive display of the season as they beat Sunderland 5-2.
Ipswich took their chances, punished Sunderland’s mistake and flew forward with wave-after-wave of attacking flair. More of that, please.
The 13 players to have joined Ipswich this season have produced a mixed-bag of results, but Martyn Waghorn is my pick of the bunch.
On the pitch he has scored 10 goals and, despite being on a scoring drought which now stretches to 15 games, he continues to contribute to the side despite being asked to play a number of unfamiliar roles.
He has also played his part in the community, like many players do, working with the Elena Baltacha Foundation to help youngsters get involved in tennis along with his wife, Leoni.
Best breakthrough artist
A host of Ipswich Town youngsters have made their debuts this season, mostly in the Carabao Cup loss at Crystal Palace, but the midfield duo of Flynn Downes and Tristan Nydam have made the biggest impact.
The duo share the award having come into the side at a time when the Blues were desperately short of midfielders and performed beyond their years.
An honourable mention to Ben Morris who has been impressing in the Under 23 side and could make his league debut before the end of the season.
Best (pantomime) villain
Preston fans describe him as ‘the annoying little brother you couldn’t help but love’ – it’s Joe Garner.
The Deepdale crowd who used to shout his name know what the striker is all about, and the Ipswich fans quickly discovered their new signing is a master of the dark arts.
He is, quite simply, a pain from the first minute to the last, battling with defenders, ‘chatting’ with referees and looking to scrape every advantage he possibly can.
Opposition players and fans don’t like it but, with 10 goals to his name this season, Garner has made himself at home at Portman Road.
Best costume (kit)
Always a controversial category. But the winner of this Championship-wide prize is Bristol City’s purple and green away kit. It certainly stands out at a time when template football kits are taking hold.
Fulham’s home kit and the Ipswich home shirt, which is arguably the best offering since the club’s return to Adidas, get honourable mentions here.
This one goes to Callum Connolly for sticking to his guns in the face of pressure.
The Everton loanee is the subject of a barrage of jokes, largely coming from Martyn Waghorn on Instagram, regarding his hair. Cole Skuse has also weighed in, saying: “He has been a joy to play alongside, although I’ve told him umpteen times to get his hair cut. That fringe is horrendous.”
Well done for sticking with it, Callum – the award is yours.
There’s only one winner for this award and that’s winger Bersant Celina, for his match-winning effort at Burton.
Frustrated at not starting and being left on the bench until the dying minutes, the Kosovan first won a free-kick and then bent it into the bottom corner to secure three points, before hurling his shirt into the Ipswich fans and striking a ‘Ronaldo pose’.
Honourable mention in this category goes to Waghorn for his Call of Duty and Mario Kart-inspired computer game celebrations.