BWFC Player of the Season Nominee - Alex Baptiste

  • April 21, 2014 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/4b702

Voting for the 2013/14 Bolton Wanderers Player of the Season is now open. Here, we analyse one of the nominees - Alex Baptiste.

On July 1, 2013, Baptiste signed a three-year contract at the Reebok Stadium and became Bolton's third signing of the summer, joining on a free transfer from Championship and Lancashire rivals Blackpool - a club he had captained in the Premier League during a five-year spell at Bloomfield Road.

The 28-year-old, who had spent most of his career playing in central defence, was signed to provide versatility to a depleted backline and help fill the void left by Sam Ricketts' departure to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

He made his debut in the opening day 1-1 draw at Burnley and scored his first goal on August 31, in a 4-1 defeat to fellow neighbours Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.

At a time when Wanderers were struggling for results and the defence was subject to most of the criticism, Baptiste earned praise from supporters after becoming an unlikely goalscoring hero - netting three times in the space of just five games through August and September.

An unfortunate leg break for Marc Tierney and the subsequent loan signing of Cardiff City's Kevin McNaughton saw Baptiste switch over to left-back, a position he slotted into with ease. His versatility was now becoming a key asset to Dougie Freedman's team selection, with Baptiste's desire to work out of position clearly winning him many supporters.

As the season progressed, Baptiste continued to play a key role in both full-back positions - with responsibility being shared between himself, Tim Ream and the on-loan Alan Hutton.

After a solid first season at the Reebok, the number of games finally caught up with Baptiste and his form dipped in the final weeks of the campaign. A red card in a 2-2 draw at Yeovil Town saw him sit out against his former club, Blackpool, on March 25, which was the deserved punishment for conceding a penalty at Huish Park.

In his first game back, Baptiste conceded another penalty in a 1-1 draw against Wigan Athletic, before a third spot-kick in as many games was given against him as Barnsley were unfortunate to be beaten 1-0 at the Reebok in mid-April.

Despite being an almost ever-present, and having played out of position in his debut campaign at the club, Baptiste's early efforts and goalscoring record look set to be overlooked by his late-season habit of conceding penalties against opposition at key moments of games.

At the time of writing, Baptiste has made 43 appearances this season and, considering he has spent all season playing as a full-back, has scored an impressive four goals. He has received seven yellow cards and been shown red on one occasion.

Does Alex Baptiste get your vote as Bolton Wanderers' 2013/14 Player of the Season? You can cast your vote by using the poll in the right-hand column of the website. Voting will close at 5pm on May 3rd, 2014.

Here are the 11 players eligible for your vote this season.

- Adam Bogdan
- Alex Baptiste
- Andy Lonergan
- Darren Pratley
- Jay Spearing
- Lee Chung-Yong
- Matt Mills
- Medo Kamara
- Neil Danns
- Tim Ream
- Zat Knight

Previous winners of the Burnden Aces Player of the Season award are as follows:

2013 - Jay Spearing
2012 - Nigel Reo-Coker
2011 - Stuart Holden
2010 - Lee Chung-Yong
2009 - Kevin Davies
2008 - Kevin Davies
2007 - Jussi Jaaskelainen
2006 - Kevin Nolan

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
14 Charlton Athletic 21 26
15 Cambridge United 21 26
16 Bolton Wanderers 21 26
17 AFC Wimbledon 19 24
18 Lincoln City 20 21
View Full Standings >>

Poll

Who is Bolton's 2020/21 Player of the Year?
56.86% Ricardo Santos
17.79% Matt Gilks
10.64% Alex Baptiste
9.94% Eoin Doyle
2.52% Antoni Sarcevic
1.54% Gethin Jones
0.42% Nathan Delfouneso
0.28% Ryan Delaney