Ipswich Town fan Russell Claydon reveals his player of the year

Loanees may have been the order of the day in 2012/13 (12 used) but I have plumped for a homegrown player for my Supporters’ Player of the Year.

From a season full of hope, a crisis engulfed Portman Road with Paul Jewell paying the price with his job and Mick McCarthy brought in for a salvage operation. And what a job he has done since being bottom on November 1.

Barring a totally freak set of results over the last two games, it will at least end with relief at avoiding the trapdoor to League One (though I’d advise Planet Blue to not risk trying to cover the costs of their season review DVD).

Following another valuable point, at Sheffield Wednesday (1-1) on Saturday, McCarthy, more than any of his players, deserves all the accolades at the end-of-season bash in the Legends Bar following the final home game against Birmingham City on Saturday (3pm).

But from the list available a fair few will look at DJ Campbell and what his goals did to help pull us out of the mire. To end our top scorer having only played 37 per cent of our campaign is quite some achievement.

But it is at the other end of the pitch that McCarthy’s work was most visible.

He somehow turned the leakiest defence in the Football League into one of the meanest, with 10 clean sheets in our last 15 games being our platform for survival.

And one player stood out in that revolution for me: Tommy Smith.

The 20-year-old New Zealand international was left out in the cold towards the end of Jewell’s reign, in favour of the no-nonsense Danny Higginbotham.

But McCarthy saw his talents and installed the belief in him to allow him to shine alongside Luke Chambers.

Last season I wrote he is a future Ipswich captain and I hope we recognising his coming-of-age campaign on Saturday evening.

Blues stat: Ipswich have won four of their last five at home.