PROUD Garry Monk says there were a host of contenders to be named Leeds United’s player of the year – as striker Chris Wood looks to become only the sixth Whites player in history to net 30 goals in a season.
Wood took the player of the year accolade at United’s end-of-season awards night last weekend and will now look to net the 30th goal of a stellar campaign in Sunday’s Championship finalé at Wigan Athletic.
Only Tom Jennings, John Charles, Peter Lorimer, Lee Chapman and Jermaine Beckford have broken the 30-goal barrier in one season for Leeds, with Charles and Beckford having achieved the feat twice.
Monk admits that Wood’s efforts have been “outstanding” – but the head coach also knows there were no shortage of contenders to be named player of the year.
Asked in particular about the efforts of Wood and centre-back Kyle Bartley this term, Monk beamed: “Those two themselves have had outstanding seasons.
“And I think that shows as well within the group.
“When we had the awards dinner the other night for instance you could probably name five, six or seven that could be up for that award or for all the different awards.
“That shows how much all of them have contributed and it’s really been a team effort and that’s another thing that I concentrated on – the effort of the team, the togetherness, the spirit and the mentality.
“It wasn’t just from the terraces, it was from within as well and that’s what you need to be successful and that’s another huge step forward for this club.
“I think that’s what everyone has appreciated – seeing a team that is together and everyone contributing and everyone trying to raise their levels.
“We just fell short at that final hurdle but that’s something to learn from and make sure that in the future we can make those improvements and add that quality to help the team in that situation.”
Jennings was the first Leeds player to net 30 goals or more in a season, with the striker bagging 35 in 1926-27. Charles struck 43 times in 1953-54 and scored 39 during 1956-57. Lorimer netted 30 goals in 1967-68, with Chapman bagging 31 times in 1990-91. Beckford bulged the net 34 times in 2008-09, and then scored 31 in 2009-10.
Twenty-six of Wood’s 29 goals this season have been scored in the Championship, putting him three clear of Bristol City’s Tammy Abraham in the league’s goalscoring charts.
Brighton’s Glenn Murray and Newcastle United’s Dwight Gayle both have 22.