AT the time of writing, Jamie Ward has just been shortlisted for the N-Power Championship player of the month award.
Many people were pleasantly surprised by this,but not me!
Ward is typical of a 100 per cent committed player and is an example for others to follow.
He is always a threat going forward and does his own share of defensive work when Derby are themselves under attack from the opposition.
Ward was originally a loan signing from Sheffield United and impressed enough to earn himself a full transfer.
Although he is a striker by trade, he spent the majority of last season playing out wide on the left, therefore his scoring exploits were restricted.
He did, however, score a vital goal in the East Midlands Derby against Nottingham Forest.
One goal down and with only 10 men from the opening minutes of the game, Ward wriggled his way past the Forest defence and beat Lee Camp at the near post. Scoring in this fixture when winning ensures that the fans are on your side for life.
He also scored the equaliser in this season;s clash at Pride Park.
To Forest fans he has become something of a pantomime villain, regularly on the receiving end of banter.
Although he doesn’t receive the same amount of ‘stick’ as the previous wearer of the number 10 shirt, Kris Commons.
He is though, very good friends with Forest’s Billy Sharp. A friendship that has been since their days together at Sheffield United.
Neither player shone at Bramall Lane, but have impressed since leaving. My eight-year-old son insisted that it was Ward’s name that graced the back of his replica shirt.
The move to Derby has rejuvenated Ward’s career after people had begun to doubt that he could play at this level.
This season he has found the net 11 times from 18 starts and it is when he is on the ball that Derby look their most threatening. He could easily be nearing 20 goals had he not suffered a long lay-off with injury.
Ward has been one of many Rams players to receive international recognition. Recently recalled to the Northern Ireland squad for his efforts.
A snip at £250,000 Jamie Ward is a prime example of a player who you can attach the bargain buy to. I just wish our fans would ditch the awful ‘Wonder Ward’ song.