VitalWatford look back at the defence over the course of the 10/11 campaign
In the second installment of VitalWatford`s End of Season Review we take a close look at the backline…
2. Lee Hodson: An in-and-out season for young Lee who featured regularly enough without impressing as much as he did during his breakthrough campaign. Through his own diligent and hard-working nature, Hodson has fought back from a slump in form to win his first-team place back and the signs are there that the Northern Irish international will go on to make the number two shirt his own for years to come. Remind you of anyone? 6/10 Chrisgwfc says: Lee Hodson – 6: In and out of the team in the first half of the season. When he came back in February he looked a shadow of his former self but in the last 10 games or so has looked much like the player i thought he would be next season.
3. Andrew Taylor: The biggest compliment you can pay Andrew Taylor is that he`s partially to blame for our post-Christmas slump. Brilliant during his six-month loan, the former ‘Boro man was our only left-back but made the position his own anyway. Lloyd Doyley is solid, but not as solid at Taylor and certainly unable to attack with the same guile and panache as the ‘Boro Academy graduate. Out-of-contract at the Riverside, it would make our summer if Taylor could return as mooted. However the sacking of Gordon Strachan and subsequent run in the side under new boss Tony Mowbray suggests otherwise, sadly. A left-back remains a key target over the summer. 7/10Chrisgwfc says: Andrew Taylor – 8: Only here for half a season but really looked the part. Added balance to the team being a left footer. Scored a cracking goal against Portsmouth. Solid defender which made our team much more rounded. IMO we would have finished much closer to the playoffs if he had stayed.
3. Tommy Hoban: A debut off the bench at Preston on the final day qualifies home-grown Hoban for this season`s review and the centre-half created his own bit of history in becoming the umpteenth ‘Orns debutant this season not to mention Academy player to represent the club. Highly-rated and with a ‘development contract` under his belt it`s been a good season for the defensive prospect. We can`t comment on his ability having not gone to the PNE game, but in terms of his own development, it`s been a good one. N/A
5. Martin Taylor: But for Danny Graham`s sublime season in front of goal, the Player of the Season award would surely have been Taylor`s. Having arrived clearly unfit last season thanks to injury and a lack of game-time at Birmingham City, Taylor has developed into another superb Malky Mackay signing. A mainstay at the back racking up 46 league appearances and missing a very small number of minutes in the final games of the season, Taylor has brought the absolute best out of partner Adrian Mariappa. When we do lose ‘Tiny` it will be a loss of equal proportion in terms of impact to losing SuperDan. 8/10Chrisgwfc says: Martin Taylor – 9: Another one who has had an outstanding season. Very good on the ball and starts off a lot of our attacks. Has performed very well against the best strikers in this division and has chipped in with 6 goals too.
6. Adrian Mariappa: 2010/11 has been perhaps the first season that Adrian Mariappa has been able to play without a section of support on his back. After a couple of hit-and-miss seasons stuck out at full-back the Academy graduate has made the centre-back berth alongside Martin Taylor his own, starting 45/46 games; it would have been all 46 alongside his defensive partner-in-crime but for a daft sending-off up at Middlesbrough. Let`s face it, Mariappa has been superb. Portraying all the traits we`ve come to expect of him, alongside his almost total antithesis in Taylor, Mariappa has been majestic. Strong, quick, fearless and intelligent ‘Mapps` has done well as vice-captain to boot. The important of having Taylor alongside him cannot be underestimated but it has been a very good season for a man who will surely take over from John Eustace as skipper when captain leaves. 8/10 Chrisgwfc says: Adrian Mariappa – 9: Excellent season. Composed on the ball and a real stalwart at the back playing every game but one. His partnership with Taylor has been a real rock this season.
12. Lloyd Doyley: Mr Consistency. Yes he`s never going to rip up trees at any level. Yes he has his faults. But, if you want a solid defender who gives 100% for 90 minutes, 46 games a season then Lloyd is your man. You just can`t imagine him anywhere else. (Note to self – could probably use this for next season`s Doyley review!) 7/10
17. Dale Bennett: It might have been a quiet season for young Bennett in terms of actual game-time, but the defender has clearly done something right to persuade Malky into handing him a new, two-year contract. He`s had his moments, but by and large it`s been a disappointing season for Bennett who has looked incredibly sloppy at time, Cardiff away rings a bell with a couple of howlers to hand the Bluebirds a win. It`s a make or break season for Bennett who could well face more action with Taylor a year older; I`m not saying he`s a bad player but he`s floating around the average mark and someone has to step up to take Taylor`s place within the next two to three years. 5/10 Chrisgwfc says: Dale Bennett – 5: Looked reasonable last season, but has been shown up this for his poor positional play. Also involved in the bizarre Own Goal for which he was mostly to blame.
25. Eddie Oshodi: Another sub appearance for the out-of-contract Oshodi who moves up to two in his Vicarage Road career. A loan spell at non-league Rushden and Diamonds will have proved useful for his development in what has been another season of ‘treading water` at the Vic`. N/A
29. Adam Thompson. An impressive breakthrough for the diminutive full-back who desperately needs to spend the summer (along with Will Buckley), pumping iron. Clearly laden with potential, could we see a home-grown duo at full-back for years to come in Hodson and Taylor? I certainly hope so, both happy to get forward, hard-working and and diligent, there`s room for improvement but no player is made at 17. 7/10 Chrisgwfc says: Adam Thompson – 7: Came into the side and was able to hit the ground running. Probably played on adrenaline for the 6 or so games he started but did score a goal and looked decent.